Lack of medicines, patient privacy and support: Why is India not helping the mentally ill?

Kuldeep Kaur (L) and her brother Gursaheb Singh play while chained to a bed at their home in the village of Banka Blair in the northern Indian state of Punjab, December 29, 2003. The brother and sister, who are mentally disturbed, have been kept chained at home for 12 years. Their mother says that her children became mentally disturbed after they saw their father shot dead in front of them by terrorists in 1991. Their widowed mother is unable to afford treatment for them and says that she chains her children so they do not leave the house and go missing. REUTERS/Munish Sharma KK/TW – RTR9DQP
For more than two decades, Poonam and Naresh have worried about their daughter Aditi who is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, a mental illness generally manifested through delusions, hallucinations and emotional disconnectedness.
From early childhood, Aditi used to keep to herself, engaging with only one or two people. In late adolescence she started showing full-blown signs of mental illness. Aditi used to feel that everyone in school was plotting against her. She often complained that the shopkeeper of the local grocery store kept trying to inject her with something as she had discovered that he was leaking sensitive information to a terrorist group. With time, the nature and frequency of her hallucinations and delusions increased, and while her peers went off to college, Aditi’s parents struggled to find a diagnosis and treatment for their only daughter.

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