Winning against all odds

Oct 12, 2014, 08:57 IST | Ankoor Anvekar

Thane Mental Hospital conducts Living with Schizophrenia programme on World Mental Health Day

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day on October 10, the Thane Mental Hospital (TMH) conducted a programme called Living with Schizophrenia, which the state government had kickstarted across Maharashtra, last Friday. 

The programme highlighted the plight of patients suffering from the disease, characterised by abnormal social behaviour coupled with the failure to recognise reality.

Volunteers enact a play to sensitise the audience about dealing with  schizophrenic patients at Thane Mental Hospital. Pic/Sameer Markande

Volunteers staged a play to enact the general view of family members of patients and the insensitivity of society as a whole.

Raise awareness
Dr Rajendra Shirsath, medical superintendent, TMH, said, “There is a need to educate people on how to deal with a person suffering from mental illness. Often, a patient goes into trauma due to neglect and poor treatment from family and the society at large.”

He explained that early detection of the disorder speeds up the treatment. Many times, detection of the illness is delayed because people are not aware of the symptoms. “A schizophrenic suffers from insomnia, gets irritated easily, gets delusional beliefs and is unable to identify with his surroundings.”

Due to lack of awareness, many families end up abandoning the patient, as they are unable to handle the situation. This further worsens the condition of a patient.

“A mental health patient requires special attention and early treatment enables the doctor to recognise his/her life skills, depending on which rehabilitation programme can be designed,” Shirsath added.

Family member speaks
A 40-year-old schizophrenic patient’s cousin brother, Chetan Thakkar told sunday mid-day, “My brother has been suffering from, schizophrenia since the age of 21. He used to spit on the floor, throw stones at people and remain lost in his thoughts. Earlier we hesitated to approach mental experts due to the fear of the society’s reaction. We didn’t know how to deal with the illness.”

With the help of doctors, Thakkar’s family is now taking better care of the patient. “We are hopeful that his condition will improve soon,” he added.

Tips for family

>> Closest family member should be an advocate for the patient
>> Ensure treatment is not stopped midway
>> Offer emotional support to the patient
>> Do not accept bizarre statements or beliefs
>> Keep a medical record
>> Help the person set attainable, simple goals

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