What it means to treat mental illness amid COVID-19

Mental hospital
The wards in the Institute of Mental Health, Chennai, for the mentally challenged are a revelation, that challenge general perceptions about people with mental issues | Image - Eunice Dhivya

The rooms are not dark and dingy or isolated, like they show in the movies, but neat, tidy and well maintained where not a single person is allowed without a mask.

The wards in the Institute of Mental Health, Chennai, for the mentally challenged are a revelation, that challenge general perceptions about people with mental issues.

“It is not difficult to make mentally challenged people understand the seriousness and insist on wearing masks rather than other people,” says Dr G Vanishree, assistant professor at the institute.

“For the mentally challenged people, I cannot explain things scientifically. So, if I treat them politely and tell them it is good to wear masks and wash hands frequently, they will listen. And if I demonstrate before them frequently, they will follow it. It is that simple,” she says.

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