GUWAHATI, Nov 16 – The predicament of those with mental illness is very obvious in our society that still has to inculcate a sympathetic attitude towards the afflicted. The sight of a mentally ill man or woman roaming on the streets of Guwahati or eating out of a dustbin is a common sight. If picked up and put in a shelter, their lives are saved, but otherwise most of them meet their end on the street.
Thankfully, a girl child, Bimla Kaur, did not end up roaming on the streets because Guwahati Street Children Project (GSCP) intervened and took her to Ashadeep, a society for the rehabilitation of the mentally ill.
“She has now fully recovered and living with her two sisters – Lovely and Laxmi,” said an official of GSCP.
Bimla was treated and sheltered at Rashmi (the halfway home) of Ashadeep for one year. Coming from a family that was struggling to make both ends meet, Bimla was left on her own because her problem needed long-term treatment. Apart from the fact that poverty was making life difficult for Bimla, her mother's approach was adding to her miseries because she kept torturing Bimla.
“We visited Anjana Goswami, director of Ashadeep and discussed in details about Bimla and her home environment where she had to remain under continuous fear psychosis due to her mother's ill-treatment,” said the official of GSCP, adding that the two sisters of Bimla work as domestic helps.
Timely intervention by GSCP saved Bimla from joining the group on the street. Bimla is now able to interact with people and do her household chores. She is leading a normal life.
“Our society still lacks awareness on the issue of mental illness. So most of the cases deteriorate before they are diagnosed,” said Anjana Goswami.
Pointing out that the society considered the issue a stigma which compelled the families with such a member to hide the situation even depriving the affected of medical treatment.
“Apart from the stigma, some people are not willing to go for medical treatment because of superstition. They approach the quacks instead,” said Goswami, adding that mental illness is a curable disease if diagnosed on time.