The mentally ill need proper care

Updated: 2013-08-06 10:05

(China Daily)

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Many violent attacks by mentally challenged people have been reported recently. In the latest incident, a knife-wielding man killed three people and left five injured. These tragedies have again raised concern over public security. To prevent such incidents, we need to strengthen the management of the mentally challenged as well as treat them with love and better understanding, says an article in People's Daily. Excerpts:

Unfortunately, we think of mentally challenged people only after a tragedy occurs. In normal times, we tend to forget even about their existence, let alone providing them with proper medical treatment and counseling.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention data show that more than 16 million people in China suffer from severe mental disorders, while medical resources for their treatment are inadequate. By the end of 2010, China could only accommodate 228,000 patients in psychiatric wards of hospitals.

In the absence of hospital beds and proper medical treatment and counseling, many mentally challenged people have to be kept under lock and key at home. Apart from more psychiatric treatment centers, well-established rehabilitation centers near communities are also urgently needed. When patients are discharged from hospitals, they need to be attended to at the community level by counselors and physicians. Plus, we should also arrange for them to get training in vocational skills so that they can lead a normal life afterward.

Many mental illnesses can be cured, but patients need a long time to fully recover from them, for which they need proper care by families and communities.

The Mental Health Law came into force on May 1, but more efforts are needed to increase medical resources for the treatment of the mentally ill and to ensure that their rights are protected.