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Sunday, 25 October 2015

For a healthy mind space

Asha Kiran complex in Rohini, is currently housing more than 900 inmates. Photo: Shanker Chakrabarty

Asha Kiran complex in Rohini, is currently housing more than 900 inmates

From more residential facilities to tending them with love and care, the Capital needs to urgently address issues plaguing the mentally challenged

While a significant number of measures have been taken to make the Capital a better place for the physically challenged persons, very little has been done for those suffering from a mental condition.

Mentally challenged persons or those with permanent mental retardation are often abandoned by families who cannot afford to provide special care to them. In such a scenario, the national Capital has only a single government-run residential facility for the mentally challenged people and that, too, is full beyond its capacity.
The facility, Asha Kiran complex in Rohini, is currently housing more than 900 inmates in a space meant for just 300. This is after the attempts to de-congest the home by sending the inmates to two smaller extensions of Asha Kiran called Asha Deep and Asha Jyoti.

Sensing the need to build more living space for the mentally challenged, the Delhi government’s Social Welfare department is now building three more facilities for the mentally challenged persons including two homes and one school cum home. The facility in Narela, once ready, will be able to house as many as 700 residents.

“The situation for mentally challenged persons will be a lot better once the new homes and schools are ready,” a senior official from the Social Welfare Department said.

Currently, Delhi has very few places that provide shelter to people with special needs. Ravi Kalra’s organisation, Earth Saviour foundation, is one such. Mr. Kalra’s NGO provides a space to the mentally challenged destitute people, those who have been abandoned by their families. Most other facilities apart from this are day-care facilities, which are paid facilities.

“There are levels of retardation in both children and adults. There are some who cannot even do their basic chores like relieving themselves on their own, there are others who can do all these things but their IQ is not as high as compared to the other people of their age. In both the cases, the retardation is incurable,” said Dr. Rachna Bhardwaj, Superintendent, Asha Kiran.

“A mentally challenged person needs care depending upon his or her condition. Sometimes, people get violent also and we need to handle them with utmost care. But all they need is someone to be with them and understand them. This is exactly what we are trying to do at Asha Kiran,” she added.

At Asha Kiran, the mentally challenged people are fed, nursed, given basic care and medical attention. Those who can comprehend things, attend school where they are taught painting, dancing and other crafts.

“We know that their retardation is incurable, so all that we try to do is to make them better in whatever ways we can,” Dr. Bhardwaj added.

Source : The Hindu , 24th Oct 2015 

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