Uttarakhand

The plight of women in Dehradun’s mental rehabilitation center

In a unique rehabilitation facility situated in Dehradun, women suffering from mental illness rely on divine intervention as their means of treatment. Regrettably, the police and administration treat these mentally ill women in an inhumane manner, akin to animals. Once a month, a psychiatrist visits the center, purportedly for treatment purposes, but the examination conducted is merely superficial, lacking any genuine concern or follow-up care.

Jyoti Patwal, the director of the Kedarpuram rehabilitation center, unveiled that its original capacity allows for the accommodation of 75 women. However, at present, the center houses a staggering 130 women. These women have been allocated beds across eight rooms. The majority of them have been abandoned and picked up from the streets by the police, while some possess known addresses but face refusal from their families to be taken back. Initially established in Kalsi Vikasnagar in 1978, this rehabilitation center was later relocated to Kedarpuram in 2006.

Patwal lamented that the center has never appointed a mental health specialist to cater to the needs of the residents. Instead, a psychiatrist from the Corona Hospital pays a monthly visit for duty. Additionally, an agreement exists with a private hospital, enabling a few nursing staff members to reside in the center. In an ideal scenario, a doctor should be present on a daily basis to administer treatment to these women. Even a weekly visit from a medical professional could bring about significant improvements in their well-being.

According to Jyoti Patwal, the center does not differentiate between women who are mentally ill and those who have been accused of crimes. Consequently, these women are not kept separate, leading to frequent quarrels and harm inflicted upon one another on a daily basis.

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