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Nowhere to go in Chandigarh after recovering from a mental illness

Dr Shikha, a psychiatrist, says, “In the last two years, we have rehabilitated 28 people who recovered from severe mental illness. But there is no initiative by the administration.”

punjab Updated: Oct 11, 2018 10:48 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh,mental illness,psychiatrist
The city lacks proper rehabilitation facilities for survivors who want to get back to a normal life.(Shutterstock)

With its lush green spaces and fairly easy lifestyle, one would think that Chandigarh would be ideal place for those recuperating from mental illnesses, yet the city lacks proper rehabilitation facilities for survivors who want to get back to a normal life.

Dr Shikha, a psychiatrist, says, “In the last two years, we have rehabilitated 28 people who recovered from severe mental illness. But there is no initiative by the administration.”

“The least they can do is provide a residential facility for people, especially those who have no one to look after. So that these people can live a dignified and independent life,” she adds.

Delivering a talk at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, a 31-year-old woman, who has been treated for schizophrenia, shares how she has been living in a Disability Assessment Rehabilitation and Triage Services (DART) Centre for over a year.

Sharing her journey, A Kalia (name withheld) said, “It all started in 2015, when I started convincing Hrithik Roshan about his divorce. I would talk to him for hours convincing him that he should not separate from his wife as he has a wonderful family.”

“Then I would sit alone and laugh. I have troubled my family a lot as I would collect used sanitary pads, thinking I will do a study and help women by stopping bleeding,” she recalls.

A Kalia does not have parents and used to stay with her brother and sister-in-law. “They got me admitted to GMCH-32 last year, when I became violent. I remember throwing a hair dresser after my brother refused to marry me to Gaurav— my imaginary boyfriend,” she said.

“It took me a year of therapy to recover,” she adds.

These days, she gets up early, goes for a walk, makes her meal and leaves for work, which in the DART centre. In the evening, she enjoys her tea, cooks dinner and always read before she goes to sleep at 9pm. But she does not want to live in the hospital forever.

“I want to have a house of my own. I want to work and earn a decent salary, so I can live a normal life,” she rues.

First Published: Oct 11, 2018 10:47 IST