The pandemic has led to a surge in the number of patients being admitted to the Thane Regional Mental Hospital (RMH) which caters to patients from eight districts across Maharashtra.
According to the data, the hospital saw 5,557 in-patient admissions last year, as compared to 3,029 in 2021, indicating an 83.45% increase in in-patient admissions.
There was also a two-fold rise in patients visiting the outpatient department. Currently, there are 1,083 patients admitted.
This is why number of patients have reduced
Officials said there are several factors due to which there were too many patients such as relatives refusing to take patients due to societal taboos, the pandemic and financial issues, among others.
Dr Netaji Mulik, medical superintendent of Thane RMH, said last year's numbers are high as the government lifted restrictions imposed during the lockdown and people suffering from mental health issues started paying visits to the hospital while critical patients were admitted.
Dr Mulik further said nearly 80% of mental patients are not kept at home by their families. Some can lead a normal life after receiving treatment at home, but middle-class families cannot afford the cost of medication. “The Supreme Court and the human rights commission have said it is the right of mental patients to stay at home with their relatives. However, society does not accept them,” he said.
According to Dr Mulik, most of the patients have been staying at the hospital for many years as their families provide the wrong addresses and contact detail because they do not want to take back the patients.
“There is a need for a change of mindset among people and they should understand mental illness. It can be cured in some cases after which the patients can lead a normal life,” he said. Meanwhile, doctors have also raised concerns about the lack of infrastructure at the four regional mental hospitals.
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