When the caregiver locks up the patient: How the mental hospital becomes a prison

Updated 1:06 PM, 4 June, 2019
Institute of Mental Health, Right to Information, IMH, DGP, Mental illness, Therapy, Murder, Killing, Inmates, The federal, english news website, bipolar, schizophrenia
No one wants to rent a house to people with a history of mental illness and a criminal record.

Annamalai (name changed) is almost 70 years old. He has been an inmate in the ward designated for prisoners in the Institute of Mental Health for about three decades. Diagnosed with schizophrenia way back in the 1970s when he was in his 20s, Annamalai who originally hails from Thanjavur, was lodged at the facility in 1990, as a remand prisoner after committing a murder.

He was sent here as he needed specialised care under the watchful eyes of the specialists at the facility. Cleared of all the charges, Annamalai awaits family support. No one has come to see him. With none to push the wheels of the bureaucracy, cases like Annamalai's get stuck in some dog-eared file at a court.

For Annamalai and many other inmates, the IMH will likely be the last stop. The mental health facility is worse than a prison for them. There is no release even if they are legally eligible and few care.

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