Bhatu Basti residents plead for treatment of mentally-ill woman

Report by: 
M SURESH KUMAR
Port Blair
12 Apr 2017

All empathy for the mentally ill, but their growing numbers leading a nomadic life has become a cause of concern for the urban population. One such instance has come to light from Bhatu Basti region, one of the most populated residential areas in the city. A woman, probably in her forties, can be seen roaming in the streets of Bhatu Basti and Garacharma, squatting on the main road, entering houses asking for food and other articles. All seems to be okay so far. But the woman entering houses during office  hours has become a cause of worry for working parents who leave behind their small children particularly during this period of the year.
Several residents of Bhatu Basti and Garacharma informed that the sick woman was found entering their houses in the region. “The woman was noticed relishing the swing fitted in the verandah in one of the houses at Bhatu Basti and then tried to enter into the house. During this part of the academic year, many schools remain closed for exams or other reasons and working parents leave behind their children at home. Many residents here have let out their flats on rent to government employees. After the recent incident, they remain worried about their children back home throughout the office hours. Who will be responsible if any untoward incident happens,” said a house owner.
“The recent action of the Rangat Police led by the Station House Officer to shift a mentally-ill person to GB Pant Hospital has drawn wide appreciation for the force. In a country where majority of the people suffering from mental-illness remain untreated, the local administration should ensure proper treatment of such people at GB Pant Hospital here. There are chances of  early recovery of the mentally-ill woman if she is admitted to GB Pant Hospital without any delay. We’re hopeful that the Pahargaon Police will follow the course of Rangat Police and initiate necessary steps in the interest of both the sick and the population here,” house owner added.
A study by The Lancet and The Lancet Psychiatry in 2016 claimed that the burden of mental illness will increase more rapidly in India than in China over the next 10 years and the two countries account for one third of the global burden of mental illnesses, a figure greater than all developed countries put together. Despite the rising figures in India, only about one in 10 people with mental health disorders are thought to receive evidence-based treatment. In 2013, ‘36 million years of healthy life’ were lost to mental illness in China, and 31 million in India. Estimates now suggest that by 2025, 39.6 million years of healthy life will be lost to mental illness in China (10 per cent increase) and 38.1 million in India (23 per cent increase), the study said.