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LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 787-788

Insights from a special school in a rural area of Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu


1 Department of Community Medicine, Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of General Surgery, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission25-Jul-2014
Date of Acceptance08-Sep-2014
Date of Web Publication22-Oct-2015

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Chennai, 603 108 Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1110-2098.167945

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J, Gopalan TR. Insights from a special school in a rural area of Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu. Menoufia Med J 2015;28:787-8

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J, Gopalan TR. Insights from a special school in a rural area of Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu. Menoufia Med J [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Sep 27];28:787-8. Available from: http://www.mmj.eg.net/text.asp?2015/28/3/787/167945

Dear Sir,

According to the WHO, optimal health status is a composite of physical, mental and social determinants [1]. A sound state of mental health is one of the key pillars to ascertain a person's well-being and his/her contribution to the society [2],[3]. In fact, recent estimates suggest that almost 450 million people worldwide suffer from some type of mental disorder [2]. This study presents the baseline findings from a special school (for the mentally ill and for individuals with disabilities) after it had been adopted by a Medical College to extend preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative services. The special school is the only one of its kind within a circumferential area of 20 km from the medical college and has a total of 53 inmates. The objectives of the study were to assess the sociodemographic and morbidity profiles of the inmates and to assess the reasons for their enrolment in the school.

From the sociodemographic perspective, almost 84.9% (45/53) were from the 20-60-year age group, 64.1% (34/53) were female and 73.6% (39/53) of inmates were either single or divorced. On assessment of the patients by a team of psychiatrists, dermatologists, physicians, orthopaedicians and others, it was found that 90.6% (48/53) of the inmates had mental disorders. On categorization using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. [4], intellectual disabilities and schizophrenia accounted for 43.8% (21/48) and 35.4% (17/48) of the mental illnesses, respectively. In addition, morbidities including musculoskeletal ailments, skin diseases, physical disability and chronic ailments were diagnosed in 23 (43.4), 19 (35.8%), 17 (32.1%) and five (9.4%) inmates, respectively. All these morbidities were managed using appropriate drug therapy, and the dosages of the medications were titrated depending on the clinical status.

However, on interviewing the inmates/caretakers/family members, the most common reason for enrolment in the special school was the unwillingness of the family members to take care of the affected individual [32 (60.4%)], followed by the absence of a trained psychiatrist in the vicinity among [16 (30.2%)]. These findings highlight important attributes of the modern society, such as persistence of stigma among members of the community about mental illness and minimal awareness among the population of the fact that most mental illnesses can be completely cured with appropriate medications and adequate psychosocial/family support. In addition, from the public health perspective, it reflects the ineffectiveness of the government health system in creating adequate awareness among people and the unequal geographic distribution of specialists, especially in rural areas.

In conclusion, a definitive reform is required to ensure strengthening of the existing public health system to safeguard the interests of vulnerable sections of the society, especially in rural areas.


  Acknowledgements Top


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
Park K. Concept of health and disease. In: Park K, editor Text Book of Preventive and Social Medicine. 20th ed. Jabalpur: Banarsidas Bhanot Publishers; 2009. p. 12-14.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. Mental health: strengthening our response - fact sheet No. 220; 2014. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/index.html. [Accessed 5 April 2014].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Childhood and adolescence: challenges in mental health. J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2013; 22 :84-85.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Wikipedia. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5; 2014. Available at: . [Accessed on 22 April 2014].  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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