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Work and Mental Illness
There is a wrong thought in the public that persons with mental illness cannot be depended with any work. Recently a minister too remarked that we cannot give any job to schizophrenic patients. Nothing can be far from truth. If one considers that the prevalence of Schizophrenia is about 1 %, then it is not difficult to imagine the magnitude of population suffering from Schizophrenia. The fact is we have many many persons with Schizophrenia working as our colleagues, superiors and subordinates without giving us a doubt. Yes they are very much capable of working. We always have heard about the eccentricities of genius and scientists. It is well known in Psychiatry that a small portion ( or is it potion) of the schizophrenic genetic material can well be a gift –for they think differently and are capable of innovations and inventions.
But in fact I am concerned about the persons with schizophrenia who are affected badly by the illness. In rehabilitating them we can consider many jobs for them. If we have the mind to look into, we can always split jobs into multiple components each requiring different levels of skill and concentration. That makes sense, for we can allot such jobs to persons who can do only that much.
We can even split duty timings so that we can accommodate two persons in one job making it two half shifts. Then what is the purpose. Life is moving fast no doubt. But we have values. When we have other humans just stay as dazed bystanders, I feel there is a need to consider their plight. What wrong did they do to deserve this? Don’t we have the reason to do something to our brethren? Just think about the amount of pride and solace it would give to the persons and their families. Well, the Persons With Disabilities Act of 1995 says that the persons with visual impairment, hearing impairment, locomotor impairment along with persons with Mental retardation and Mental illness should have 3 5 reservation of seats in all Government and public Sector undertakings.
. But only the first three categories got the results, for they fight for it. Mentally ill and mentally retarded persons could not organise to raise their voice and they lost the game. Recently I heard His Excellency Governor of Kerala remarking that he did not know in what way mentally ill persons could be helped by the Act. I strongly feel the Psychiatrists should take up this as a strong case for advocacy.