KPC team visits State Mental Health Institute
KOHIMA, AUGUST 15
ON the occasion of the 68th Independence Day, the members of Kohima Press Club (KPC) Friday visited the State Mental Health Institute (SMHI) located at Aradura, Kohima.
A brief programme was held where the SMHI staff apprised the visiting KPC members about the background, facilities and services of the institution.
SMHI senior medical officer, Dr. Viketoulie Pienyii informed that the institution has about 30 staff caring for patients coming from different parts of the state. He said that though the SMHI is the only premier mental health institute in Nagaland, it has limited resources.
It was learnt that there are no recreational facilities at the institute and the only recreational activities which the patients can afford is music (singing) and gardening which are supervised by the staff. Also, from the deplorable road condition leading to the institute to the missing security and staff quarters, and the fact that both female and male patients are housed in the same building across few doors and having to share toilets, SMHI may well be the most neglected branch of the state medical department. It was also informed that the institute has just one vehicle, there is no kitchen for patients’ attendants, no dining room for the patients and they basically live on ‘daal and rice’.
Stating that the existence of people with mental illness are sidelined, Dr. Viketoulie underscored the need to do away with stigma attached to mental health. At the end of the day, patients are not the only ones that are stigmatized but their families and even the health care givers are also discriminated, he lamented.
He explained that the society needs to understand that mental illness is not a curse but a disease that is manageable and in most cases they are curable.
The official pointed out that many people suffer from mental illness due to inability to cope with stress. “It can happen to any of us….We should not shun or discriminate people with mental illness,” he said, adding, “mental illness is not only a case managed by medication, it can be managed by family, people, support and care.”
Meanwhile, a SMHI staff nurse expressed gratitude to the KPC for visiting the institute and encouraging the patients as well as the patients.
The KPC, on the occasion, presented gift packages containing powdered milk, sugar, biscuits and sweets to the patients at SMHI. The 15 member KPC team was led by the president, Xavier Rutsa.