The task of caring for the mentally ill is extremely challenging, more so when there is widespread prejudice against mental illness. Very few people will understand how arduous the journey is until they are in the same predicament themselves.
There are many stories of psychiatric patients who sought treatment with support from family members and some sectors of society, and went on to lead perfectly normal lives.
Unlike for physical illnesses, medication for psychiatric illness takes time to settle in and patients need to reintegrate into society so that full recovery is possible.
Let us also not forget that caregivers have to go out and work to earn money to pay for treatment for their loved ones seeking psychiatric care. So it is not possible for them to watch over their mentally ill kin 24/7.
I often meet a 70-year-old man living in a condominium opposite my flat, and he tells me that he makes it a point to go out every day to meet friends and socialise, or he would go "crazy" sitting alone at home when his children are at work.
If people who are clearly lucid can feel this way, what about mental patients who are confined within four walls?
Those finding it hard to cope with mental illness need all the support they can get.
Raymond Anthony Fernando
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