by Medindia Content Team on  February 13, 2006 at 12:21 PM Mental Health News
Is mental illness a social stigma?
Dr Waseem, head of Psycho and Geriatrics Ward at the Punjab Institute of Mental Health (PIMH) said that people are not ready to accept their relatives after they have been declared mentally fit by doctors.

He says that there are 30 such patients who have completely recovered but no place to go.

When asked about this rising issue to the family members they say that these patients are of no use and are a liability.

Ashraf Khan, who has been declared mentally healthy, after ten years of treatment, was pronounced mentally fit but when brought home by his brother Altaf Khan fell ill again.

Altaf Khan says that the hospital administration wants to get rid of the patients by declaring them fit.

Zafar Iqbal who was admitted in PIMH for the past five years was told that he was mentally fit by the doctors; still his son Saeed Ahmed is not willing to take him home for the fear that his father would create social problems and cause disgrace and embarrassment.

He feels that the hospital is the best place for his father where he is given proper care and attention.

Zafar, a rice trader, said that his family is not accepting him back and thinks him as a burden.

He said that when he was well and earning they loved him but when he fell sick they left him and don't want him back.

Mental illness is still considered as a social stigma despite the awareness among the people.

The recovered patients are considered as a liability by their own family members. The doctor says that some of the families have intentionally given wrong addresses because they don't want the patients to come back.

Dr Waseem said that patients who belong to remote areas cannot be sent alone. The hospital authorities keep the patients who are recovering under observation for two weeks before contacting their families.

Once they have recovered they write letters and if they get no response the hospital takes people home on its own.

But these patients after their recovery need to be taken care given a good atmosphere and extra care at home.

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