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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Short-staffed Thane Mental Hospital takes extra care of inmates

mumbai Updated: Oct 11, 2019 00:41 IST
Ankita G Menon
Ankita G Menon


Alarmed by the two suicides last month, doctors at Thane Mental Hospital are watching each patient for any signs of depression. The hospital authorities have claimed that they have identified 10 such patients and are continuously counselling them.

“After the two cases, we started talking to patients and calming them. We also started conducting special sessions in the morning with songs,” said Dr Sanjay Bodade, superintendent of Thane Mental Hospital.

He admitted that there was a staff-crunch.

“Despite severe shortage of staff, we have ensured that no one is overworked and all employees get their leave. But if we find any staffers shirking their duties, we will take action,” said Bodade.

In the past two years, the hospital has seen a rise in the number of patients with schizophrenia. “Increased exposure to drugs, especially among adolescents, is leading to cases of schizophrenia among the youth. Certain drugs like cannabis or cocaine can trigger symptoms of schizophrenia,” said Bodade.

On an average, the hospital has witnessed a 5% rise in cases of schizophrenia and depression every year.

More than 1,000 patients are lodged in the hospital and there are only four psychiatrists to look after the out-patient department as well as the wards.

This is quite stressful for the staff, say activists and social workers.

“This is a regional mental hospital so patients from places such as Jalgaon and Raigad also come here. This increases the pressure on the staff. It is essential to have rehabilitation or daycare centres in the areas which will help in easy recovery. This will make it easy for the patients to be socially accepted,” said Sukanya Bhat, citizen activist.

“National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), formed in 2010, has been entrusted the responsibility of treating, sheltering and reuniting these patients with their families. However, there is little coordination between the hospital and the NALSA,” added Bhat.

First Published: Oct 11, 2019 00:41 IST

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