For the first time in the history of the institute, psychiatrists at National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) have planned a guided tour for the public to remove the stigma attached to mental illness.
With many people asking questions, like ‘Do all patients, who go for mental illness treatment, get a shock treatment?’, the psychiatrists have decided to throw open the Institute’s doors for visitors for a day.
Department of Mental Health Education, NIMHANS, will be organising ‘Stories against Stigma’ on October 27 where visitors can register for Rs 100 and take a tour of the institute.
Based on the response the pilot project receives, more such tours will be conducted once in two months.
“It will be open to the public to propagate de-stigmatsation of ‘lunatic asylums’. Furthermore, by this association, we aim to make people feel more comfortable in seeking help for mental health problems as we introduce different perspectives of looking at the stigma attached to mental health,” said Dr K S Meena, Associate Professor, Department of Mental Health Education.
Though the public will not be allowed access inside the wards which house patients for treatment, a glimpse of it can be taken. The heritage building and psychiatric wards would be shown to patients.
“There is a wrong perception of shock treatment as part of mental health treatment. We call it Electroconvulsive therapy in medical terms. It does not happen as depicted in movies. Neither are the patients as violent as people believe them to be,” said Dr Meena.
NIMHANS has developed modules integrating yoga with mental health and research. Besides, for those with mental retardation, bakery classes, computer training is also conducted. The tour will also give access to these areas.