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
Saurabh R Shrivastava1, Prateek S Shrivastava1, Jegadeesh Ramasamy1, Thyagarajan R Gopalan2,
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
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
|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;28:787-788
|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 Apr 4 ];28:787-788
Available from: http://www.mmj.eg.net/text.asp?2015/28/3/787/167945
According to the WHO, optimal health status is a composite of physical, mental and social determinants . 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 ,. In fact, recent estimates suggest that almost 450 million people worldwide suffer from some type of mental disorder . 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. , 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.
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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