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Social stigma, wrong perception of mental illness addressed in SATRA workshop

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  9 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

From our Correspondent

MANGALDAI, March 8: “A person with mental illness never considers himself to be mentally ill. On the other hand the parents and family members of the patient very often try to hide the fact fearing neglect by the society. Unlike the families of lower income and higher income groups, this situation is very common in middle class families of the State,” said eminent social scientist and director of premier non-government organization Ashadeep Dr Anja Goswami. She was delivering a lecture on the topic ‘Sensitization about mental illness, stigma and false perception’ as the resource person in a workshop organized by Social Action for Appropriate Transformation and Advancement in Rural Areas (SATRA), a leading non-government organization on Saturday at the Youth Club Hall in Mangaldai.

“Normally people show sympathy for a physically challenged person or patients with other diseases. But in case of a mentally ill patient, people never show any sympathy rather they express signs of negligence and hatred as the people cannot see the state of his health,” she added. Referring various examples from her long experience in this field, Dr Goswami explained how patients recovered from the state of major mental illness or schizophrenia and later enjoyed normal and successful life.

Dr. Goswami also added that like a diabetic or a high-blood pressure patient, a mentally ill person was also a patient and mentally ill patients could also lead a normal life with the help of regular medication. She also urged the people to avoid calling mentally ill patient derogatory mes like mad, half- brain and to treat him only as a patient.

According to Dr Goswami, a person suffering from mental illness could be identified early in life from his day-to -day behavior and here the friends and the teachers could play a better role than parents. Dr Goswami, while highlighting the sorry state of government-level support in mental health in the country and the State, pointed out that at a time when about 2 per cent population were suffering mental illness, most of the civil hospitals of the State were without a psychiatrist and necessary medicines.

Earlier the workshop was iugurated by Additiol Deputy Commissioner Razvee Hussain. A presentation was done on a recent study by Executive Director of SATRA, ni Saikia where 600 mentally ill patients were identified in 15 GPs in Sipajhar area of the district, reflecting the alarming situation in Darrang district.

The workshop, attended by local leading citizens, representatives of non-government and public organizations, members of women organizations and media persons, also included an interactive session with the patients. Dr Bazrul Islam of SATRA offered the welcome address.

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