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The Financial Express

Mental healthcare facilities need care

| Updated: November 13, 2020 21:00:58


Lankabangla and Fianancial Express Lankabangla and Fianancial Express
Mind Aid, a private mental healthcare clinic located in the city's Adabor Mind Aid, a private mental healthcare clinic located in the city's Adabor

The death of a senior assistant superintendent of police in a private mental healthcare clinic located in the city's Adabor has raised more questions than can be answered. Reportedly, the clinic is one of those running illegally in the area comprising Mohammadpur, Shyamoli and Adabor. In recent drives against other medical facilities, quite a few of those were either sealed or fined and a ward boy along with a secondary pass man posing as MBBS surgeon were hauled into prison for conducting operation on patients. Clearly, a combing operation by the law-enforcement agencies against the ubiquitous so-called private health facilities is a need of the time. The allegation is that Anisul Karim was admitted to the National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital but interrogation of the 10 arrestees by the police indicates that the police officer was persuaded to come over to Mind Aid. Like similar other private health facilities, Mind Aid also may have relied on snaring patients from government and other private hospitals with help from persuasive intermediaries.

Healthcare in this country is a neglected area, mental health only more so. Again, the psychiatry and psychological aid available lag far behind the highly advanced psychotherapy in the Western world and even in neighbouring India. When the general standard of treatment of mental disorder leaves much to be desired, what can happen in a fake mental health clinic is anybody's guess. At a time when the pandemic is adversely affecting people's mental make-up, psychotherapy can surely play an important role in helping people overcome their mental depression and other related issues. As there is no sign that coronavirus will disappear soon from the face of the Earth, more and more people -- the young and adolescents in particular -- are likely to develop mental ailments out of frustration and helplessness.

Here is a clear case how some health facilities take undue advantage of the rising incidence of mental illness. An assistant superintendent of police is a man of responsibility and he felt prompted from within that he needed psychological aid. A person who can feel that he needs psychotherapy at no point should be subjected to the kind of physical assault similar to mob lynching within a hospital. The CCTV footage shown by a TV channel is clear enough that the employees of Mind Aid acted like thugs and were responsible for the untimely death of a police officer who sought treatment there as a patient.

Most such private psychiatric centres have a corps of untrained personnel. Application of physical force rather than persuasion does more harm than good to patients. A serious probe will unravel the instance of fatal highhandedness. They need understanding of the patients' psychology from the very beginning. More importantly, they must have compassion without which their dealing with patients runs the risk of leading to tragedies like the one at Mind Aid. Just as there is physical illness so can be an incidence of mental ailment. A change in social perception and development of mental treatment facilities with adequately trained hands can rehabilitate people with psychiatric issues.

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