Task force recommends schools for mentally challenged kids

It also proposes de-addiction centres in Dakshina Kannada district

The Karnataka State Mental Health Task Force on Saturday said that the state government has promised to include the four proposals made by it in the coming budget.

Speaking to media persons, Task Force Chairman Dr K A Ashok Pai said that the task force had proposed opening of a residential school for mentally challenged (profoundly retarded) children in every district headquarters with a total expenditure of Rs 8.5 crore.

The other proposal was to establish psycho-social rehabilitation centres in all the districts at a total cost of Rs nine crore. The rehabilitation centre is aimed at building confidence among the people who have undergone long-term treatment for mental illness and make them socially acceptable.

“The Task Force has also proposed setting up of alcohol and drug de-addiction centres in Gulbarga, Dakshina Kannada, Shimoga and Bangalore districts involving an expenditure of Rs four crore.  

Setting up of government de-addiction centres and rehabilitation centres has become important in the backdrop of the United Nations Organisation including depression and suicide and alcohol and drug-related disorders in the list of killer diseases, for the first time,” Dr Pai said.

Centre for cerebral palsy

The fourth proposal was to open rehabilitation centres for people suffering from cerebral palsy. With over two lakh people in the State suffering from cerebral palsy, there was a need to establish centres in four districts at a cost of Rs four crore.

Dr Ashok Pai said that the government has agreed to provide land and building for establishing the centres and the work on developing the centres with necessary facilities could be started once the funds are allotted in the budget.

He said that the Task Force has already organised District Mental Health Programmes in  Chamrajnagar, Shimoga, Bangalore and Bellary districts. The programme will be conducted in all the district headquarters in the next phase of the project. 

The district units for Mental Health Task Force too will be formed in the coming days. The unit in Dakshina Kannada, led by the District Health Officer, will start functioning within 15 days and the State Task Force has intended to form the units in 20 districts with in the next three months.

On the debate over the reducing age limit for juvenile delinquency in the wake of one of the Delhi gang rape suspect being a minor,  Dr Pai, who is also a well-known psychiatrist, said that determination of the age for juvenile delinquency should be based on the psychological growth of the individual. “Stringent punishment should be given to even a 15-year-old juvenile offender, if his psychological growth is equivalent to that of 18-year-old.”

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