'Homeless need more mental health camps'

 A 32-year-old homeless man staying at Motia Khan shelter home is suffering from depression. Rajinder left his wife and five children a year ago.

The family have been trying to get him admitted at a mental institution for over three months now.

An NGO will be taking him to Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health, Neuro and Allied Sciences (VIMHANS) on Thursday, as a part of the mental health camp being organised at Institute of Human Behaviour And Allied Sciences (IHBAS).

“We have taken an appointment and we will take him to VIMHANS tomorrow,” said Sunil Kumar Aledia, member, Centre for Holistic Development.

The IHBAS and State Mental Health Authority have organised ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ from October 4 to 10.

NGOs working for the destitutes say that the city government should run more such camps because grey areas in the admission process make it difficult to get homeless people admitted at mental institutions.

“Rajinder’s mother tried to get him admitted to a mental institutions but she couldn’t. Then she approached us,” said Aledia.

“Shelter homes are full of destitutes who are suffering from one or the other mental illnesses. Such mental health camps are their only hope,” he added.

But mental institutions said that they can only admit a homeless person if they fulfill the legalities under the Mental Health Act.

“A homeless person brought by an NGO or resident welfare associations can be admitted only if the NGO is willing to take the person’s responsibility after he is discharged. Otherwise, we have to wait for a court order,” said a doctor at IHBAS.

NGOs said the administration is passing the buck.  “If such are the rules. They need to be amended. How can NGOs take the responsibility of looking after the homeless suffering from mental illnesses when the city government refuses to do so?” said an NGO.

“Non-profit organisations don’t have adequate funds to provide for such destitutes,” it added.

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