Government mental hospital to focus on physical fitness of patients

Hospital
The Regional Mental Hospital at Yerawada has decided to try a different approach to healing the minds of its patients.

For the first time ever, the hospital, which spans across 133 acres and happens to be the largest institution in Asia, taking care of 1,838 mentally ill patients, has now launched this ambitious rehabilitation programme. Its focus is on keeping the inmates physically fit and spiritually strong.

A 1000-sq ft hall, being erected on the campus, will house a recreation and meditation centre.

For psychosis patients of the likes of those suffering from schizophrenia like Nikita Joshi's (name changed) son will no longer have to go through rigorous and strenuous sessions of electric convulsive therapy (ECT). They have much more to look forward to. Things that even mentally healthy people can enjoy and appreciate.

Nikita can now breathe easy as she watches her 34-year-old son play a match of table tennis with a co-inmate and then later make his way to the treadmill.

"The gym, set up a couple of months ago at the Out Patient Department (OPD) building, will be relocated to the hall. It will be ready by the end of March ," medical superintendent of the hospital Dr Vilas Bhailume said.

Besides, a 2.5-km jogging track has been prepared and games like table tennis and badminton introduced. This Rs 1.5 crore project has been funded by the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

Being the biggest in Asia, this hospital caters to patients coming from all over Western Maharashtra's 12 districts and even the Marathwada region.

"At least 80 per cent of the patients coming here have been suffering from schizophrenia. Others have mood disorders, or suffer from depression and some even have suicidal tendencies. Their recovery rate has improved as better anti-psychotic drugs are now being introduced. However, medicines have to be regularly taken, failing which there would be a relapse," Dr Bhailume said.

There is a daily OPD inflow of 125 patients, of which at least 10 are admitted to the hospital every day. With our better medication and counselling, patients now recover faster. Around 200-odd patients are discharged every month. However, post-instutionalisation, we notice relapse among 30 to 40 per cent of the patients. This is due to the absence of continued medication.

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