POST TIME: 20 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Addressing mental health problems

Addressing mental health problems

The ‘Mental Health Act, 2018’ can, according to experts, bring discipline in the mental health procedures in our country and ensure better treatment for mental patients. This Act was very necessary. This act will ensure better services to mental patients by bringing discipline in the mental health services. The law also proposed rigorous punishment for provoking any mental patient to commit crime and stringent punishment for setting up and operating mental hospital without license.

Mental health is a global problem and ranks fourth in the list of top 10 deadly diseases. Although the number of people suffering from mental illness is rising in Bangladesh, their proper medical care is being hindered as the mental health sector has been confronted with myriad of problems including acute shortage of skilled manpower and resources. A significant number of adult people of the country suffer from any form of mental illness. A new survey of the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health)  reveals that about 31 per cent adult people of the country suffer from any form of mental illness, which is almost double than the previous survey conducted in 2005.

It is an unpalatable reality that a person with mental disorders is looked upon as a burden on the family and the society. He or she is treated shabbily and becomes victim of torture, harassment, neglect and scorn in the family and everywhere he/she goes. It is very unfortunate that these people are bearing the brunt of the malady they are not responsible for. A little bit of sympathy that can be a solace for them is a rare thing for them.

Mentally ill people have also right to live with dignity in society. But no discernible measure has been taken to ensure it. It is imperative to take concrete measures to alleviate the sufferings of the mentally unsound persons. There should be a culture of empathy for them; they should be treated sympathetically and humanely. In rural areas mentally unsound persons are taken to quacks, faith healers and charlatans instead of physicians for treatment who aggravate their problems further. If proper environment is created the mentally disordered persons can also contribute to the country’s development activities.

The overall outlook about the mentally handicapped people should be changed. The people with mental disorders should be brought under the mainstream population. They also need proper infrastructural support. The government, particularly the health ministry, social welfare ministry and the departments concerned should solve the problems facing the mentally handicapped people. Massive public awareness should be generated in this regard.