Tuesday September 17, 2019
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Sensitisation over despondency: Having a mentally disabled kid

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Credit: http://www.webindia123.com/ (Image for representational purpose only)

By Sreyashi Mazumdar

New Delhi: Wading through the tumultuous reveries of life, a 28-year-old decided to give up; she couldn’t bear the pangs of her little one. Despite trying hard to put up with the situation, her trepidation scuttled her courage to face the harsh reality. Pondering upon the plausible difficulties of her child, she decided to put an end to the situation. She strangled her kid and hung herself from the fan, fending off the reality. This isn’t an isolated case in a nation like India. Even though there has been a drastic change in the field of medical science, societal sensitization is still in the nascent stage. People continue to look down upon a mentally disabled child.

Picture credit: newindianexpress.com
Picture credit: newindianexpress.com

“The main problem is the lack of acceptance. Parents at times find it difficult to accept their children’s mental condition, owing to which many a time they repent their decision; decision of giving birth to a mentally disabled child. There was a time when I used to curse myself for giving birth to an autistic child,” said 45-year Bina Dutta, mother of an autistic boy.

Tears trailing down her eyes, she shared her reveries with her neighbor Priya, “I must have committed a sin in my past life, what wrong did I do.” It has been often seen that parents find it difficult to put up with the societal ostracism their kids often face owing to their mental or physical disability. Things become more complicated once the child enters his or her teenage.

“Lack of proper guidance, lack of medicinal/ educational infrastructure in India, social stigma, societal acceptance,financial burden, emotional disturbance and the implicit disparity which at times becomes quite obvious; these are some of the causes owing to which such children fail at garnering a wholesome experience, both on professional and personal level,” Dr Jyoti Rao, a psychologist and a counsellor, was quoted as saying as she dealt with mentally disabled child for a prolonged period now.

Though there are rehabilitation schools, the problem doesn’t come to an end. “Special schools are a part of rehabilitation process but to begin with as a parent or as a society acceptance is important. Empathy is the key not sympathy. So, more than infrastructure it is the mindset which needs to get overhauled,” she said.

Picture credit : icddelhi.com
Picture credit : icddelhi.com

Financial crunch is one of the major impediments wherein mental or physical ailments lead to untoward incidents like suicides. For instance, in the year 2010, a couple killed their 18-year-old son in East Delhi as they failed to afford his medical expenses thereafter committing suicide, according to a Hindustan Times report.

” Instead of considering it as a disability the best way to deal with such kids are treating your kid as a special child. The moment you start considering your child as a special one, you tend to lay off your frustration and despondence,” said Sister Premila, a spiritual leader and counsellor.

One needs to put oneself into the shoes of people in vicinity of mentally or physically compared individuals, be it in the family or ones school or college. Both infrastructure and sensitization is needed to plummet the level of suicide cases owing to reasons related to mental disability.

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WHO: Millions of People with Epilepsy Reluctant to Seek Treatment Because of Stigma

Nearly 50 million people around the world suffer from epilepsy

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Nearly 50 million people around the world suffer from epilepsy. The World Health Organization reports this neurological disease affects people of all ages in all walks of life. VOA

The World Health Organization says millions of people with epilepsy are reluctant to seek treatment because of the stigma attached to their ailment, leading to the premature death of many.  WHO has released the first global report on epilepsy.

Nearly 50 million people around the world suffer from epilepsy.  The World Health Organization reports this neurological disease affects people of all ages in all walks of life.  It says this brain disease can cause seizures and sometimes loss of awareness.

Program Manager in WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Tarun Dua says people with epilepsy suffer widespread stigma and discrimination as a consequence of their unusual behavior.

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Low doses of topiramate may also increase the risk of oral clefts but to a lesser extent. Wikimedia Commons

“So, in many settings, people with epilepsy they are embarrassed…children are not allowed to go to school, adults are not allowed to work, sometimes not even marry or the right to drive is also not there,” said Dua. “So, these stigma and human rights violations and sometimes also the death that is associated with epilepsy—so premature mortality in epilepsy is three times that of the general population.”

Causes of epilepsy include injury around the time of birth, brain infections from illnesses such meningitis or encephalitis and stroke.  WHO estimates 25 percent of cases are preventable.

Dua says early death among people with epilepsy in low and middle-income countries is significantly higher than in wealthy countries.  She says the stigma associated with epilepsy is a main factor preventing people from seeking treatment.

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The World Health Organization reports this neurological disease affects people of all ages in all walks of life. Wikimedia Commons

She says low cost, effective medication to treat the disease is largely unavailable in poor countries as are the number of specialists competent to deal with this brain disorder.

ALSO READ: Researchers Identify Gene Associated with Sudden Death in Epilepsy

“For example, if you look in low and middle-income countries, there is only one neurologist per one million population,” Dua said. “Now, that is definitely insufficient to provide care for all people with epilepsy.  What it means is that we need the non-specialists, the primary care doctors to take care for people with epilepsy.”

Dua says WHO has the tools and evidence-based guidelines that show epilepsy can be successfully treated in primary health care.  She says pilot programs introduced in Ghana, Mozambique, Myanmar, and Vietnam are making huge inroads in closing the epilepsy treatment gap. (VOA)