THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The novel project of rehabilitating mentally challenged persons in Chirayinkeezhu block panchayath, ‘Suraksha’, is entering its second phase. The programme is being launched by the Department of Psychiatry at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College and Social Justice Department. According to authorities concerned, the programme not only envisions better living standard, treatment and social security for mentally challenged people, but also provides free of cost treatment to learning disability among children and amnesia among senior citizens.
“A programme of this kind is being implemented for the first time in the state. In this endeavour, we are carrying out the data collection of the mentally challenged persons with the help of anganwadi and Asha workers and with the help of people’s representatives,” said a practitioner with the Department of Psychiatry.
At the same time, E Nazeer, the social scientist with the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, who is said to have conceptualised the ‘Suraksha’ project, said in the second phase the six grama panchayats will implement the programme on their own. “During the survey, we identified 834 severe mentally challenged persons in the block panchayat. In addition to that, we have also identified 2,400 persons with moderate mental health problems.
Now, the focus will be to provide them with adequate attention and treatment,” said Nazeer. He further said as it has identified 16 destitute mentally challenged persons in the block panchayat, a proposal will be sent to the government to establish a care home near the Taluk Hospital. Earlier, taking note of the spike in mental disorder cases in the state, the Health Department had unveiled a ‘comprehensive mental health programme’.