A day that bears little significance for them | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 11, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 11, 2012

A day that bears little significance for them

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These are some of the mentally sick people often seen moving here and there during the day hours in Magura town. Nobody seems to care where they get their food or stay at night.Photo: STAR

World Mental Health Day saw only lacklustre programmes in districts across the country, showing lack of awareness among large sections of the population as well as authorities concerned regarding the significance of mental health.
No discussion or awareness building programme was held in Magura district yesterday marking the World Mental Health Day, reports our Magura correspondent.
Asked about the matter, Magura Civil Surgeon (CS) Mohammad Shafikul Alam and Sheikh Rafikul Islam, deputy director (in-charge) of Social Service Department (SSD) in the district, said no programme was held to observe the day as the higher authorities did not issue any directive in this regard.
According to the statistics of SSD in Magura district, there are 855 mentally challenged and 166 seriously disturbed people in four upazilas of Magura district, including the municipality areas.
Most of the mentally disturbed people are seen moving in different areas including district and upazila headquarters.
In absence of any shelter home or healthcare facilities for such people in the district, they live vagrant life and gradually move towards miserable death.
"Many people are now depressed due to unfavourable socioeconomic conditions, shrinking employment opportunities, loss of job, insecurity caused by violence and crime. These factors often lead to mental disorder," said Shafikul Alam, the CS.
Khan Ziaul haque, a socio-cultural personality in Magura, stressed the need of shelter, schooling and healthcare facilities for the mentally challenged and disturbed people.
He urged early steps for setting up a school in the district town and arranging a separate ward at Magura Sadar Hospital for the mentally challenged and disturbed people.
Our Barisal Correspondent reports: Hundreds of mental patients in greater Barisal region remain without any treatment as a junior psychiatrist has been serving as the lone mental doctor at Barisal Sher E Bangla Medical College Hospital (SBMCH) for last nine years.
"Now nine patients, including four females, are taking treatment at the 10-bed psychiatric ward here. Besides, 35-40 patients daily take advice at the outdoor section, from the lone psychiatrist of the hospital," said Dr Anil Chandra Datta, deputy director of the biggest public hospital in Barisal division.
Posts of one associate professor, one assistant professor, and two associate registrars have also remained vacant in the ward for the last nine years, he added.
"Mental disorder put an adverse impact on the overall healthcare system. And so, sufficient number of doctors and health workers should be trained up to offer mental health treatment at the community level," he said.
"A national health study shows at least three in ten people suffer from some form of mental illness in Bangladesh and the number is increasing with change in society and lifestyle," said Prof Dr Saroj Kumar Das, former head of SBMCH psychiatry ward.
"The study found a strong link between mental disturbance and drug addiction. It also revealed that children of older parents, nuclear family, and parents with mental problem are more likely to become mental patients," he said.
Our Pabna Correspondent adds: Doctors, nurses and the staffs of Pabna Mental Hospital brought out procession on its premises yesterday, focusing the theme 'Depression, a global crisis'.
At a discussion held at the hospital auditorium marking World Mental Health Day, speakers emphasised treating the mental patients with positive attitude and compassion in family and society.

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