PUNE: The number of those seeking voluntary admission to the Yerawada mental hospital has increased considerably in the last three years. This exercise has resulted in more and more people with mental illnesses approaching the hospital and benefiting as well.
Once known as a place where those with specific problems were admitted following sessions court's directives, the Yerawada mental hospital has come a long way in gaining the confidence of the patients and their relatives alike. The hospital management has been consistently advocating and encouraging voluntary admissions of the mentally-ill and the results since 2004 have been encouraging.
"Earlier, relatives would go to a sessions court to seek admission for their wards. And once the admission was sought, the relatives used to wash their hands off the patient," said Vilas Bhailume, superintendent, Yerawada Mental Hospital.
Now, relatives of patients opt to come on their own to admit their patient, said Bhailume. There were just 463 voluntary boarders admitted in the hospital in 2000, but since last three years the number has been consistently over 1200, said Bhailume.
"The hospital always had the provision for voluntary admission, but somehow there has been little awareness about it. Moreover, the tendency to get rid of mentally-ill among relatives was largely responsible for this. And this they used to do by obtaining a court's order," said Bhailume.
"The procedure for admission as well as discharge for a voluntary patient is hassle-free at the hospital," said Bhailume. Elaborating on how the hospital has succeeded in getting voluntary admissions, he said regular group therapy sessions for patients and their relatives are conducted by teams comprising psychiatrist, social worker and clinical psychologist. "These group sessions are meant for indoor, outdoor patients and relatives. Various NGOs also participate," he said.
"When there is recurrence of psychiatric problem, patients and their families invariably choose voluntary mode of admission because, during previous episode, they have experienced the ease of procedure of admissions and its benefits to the patient," said Bhailume.
Hospitals provides various recreational activities like games, music and art therapies and involve them in occupational activities like screen printing, gardening, tailoring, carpentry and various seasonal activities that aid in recovery and rehabilitation of the patients.
Calling it a welcome trend, Alka Pawar, director of Maharashtra Institute of Mental Health said, awareness among people that mentally-ill can be brought back to community is increasing. Similarly, the concept of family ward, where patient's relatives can stay at the hospital and understand the process of rehabilitation, has been proposed at the Yerawada Mental Hospital. This feature is expected to trigger tremendous change in voluntary admissions in near future, she said.