The Maoist insurgency is to blame basically for the rising number of psychiatric cases in the country. Mental patients have to depend on trained counsellors. But regrettably, the presence of 30 psychiatrists and only one Mental Hospital at Lagankhel to cater to 30 per cent of the affected population is atrociously low. Trauma is more pronounced among the children with their reaction ranging from restlessness to drug addiction that may even lead to criminal involvement. But how can the malaise be contained when the country doesn’t have a single child psychiatrist?
The successive governments stand guilty of discriminating against the common class. Those belonging to the elite category have received millions for foreign treatment while the marginalised continue to suffer because of the lack of basic healthcare facilities. The government’s plan to create a psychotic ward in each zonal hospital is no doubt an excellent idea provided it actually materialises. This could be a challenging task in the absence of a skilled manpower pool and the doctors’ well-known reluctance to serve in the countryside. The nation could be better off if genuine efforts are made to train and retain the skilled manpower within the country itself. Apart from foreign support in rehab efforts, voluntary donations from well-to-do families and the corporate sector are of no less importance.