Some of the families of those people who reside in the Taif mental hospital have downright changed all of their contact numbers and addresses, so that they could not be pursued after leaving their loved ones in the hospital. There are also others who have bluntly refused to accept their dear ones. This is the tragic story of almost 400 patients who have been left at the hospital by their families. The hospital is commonly known as Shihar.The oldest patient in this hospital is a Saudi man who has been here from last 48 solid years. His family reportedly discarded him at the hospital and has refused to take him back or even meet him in all the time that he has been here.
The management of the hospital has aimed to launch a new initiative which hopefully will bring about a change in the attitude, mentality and the behavior of society towards people who have mental illnesses. The campaign is called “they are part of us. Mental hospital is not a suitable place for psychological patients.”The hospital has constructed a Ramadan tent which aims to relieve the feeling of estrangement and resentment from the patients. In this tent, the patients and the staff will have a group iftar. The director of the hospital, Dr. Abdul Salam Al Omairi has told the Al Watan local daily that there are several activities that are being conducted to help the patients keep in touch with traditions, culture and social norms. It should be noted that many of the patients have been staying here for many years without any outside interaction.
Al Omairi added that through this new initiative by the hospital, they are trying to spread awareness on the issue and are hoping to educate people on how they should deal with the psychological and mentally ill people.He adds that proper interaction and dealing is one of the vital treatment methods. The society is wrong to neglect these psychologically and mentally impaired people and any and all wrong notions about the type of people should be ended immediately. He also stated that the department of religious awareness and community service at the hospital is currently holding talks with families of the patients, encouraging them to take their family members back home.There are however many families who have outright refused to even come to the hospital to talk or to even receive or visit their sick family members, while others have registered false contact information.
Al Omairi added that the hospital has started a home care program which allows some patients to live at their home and their medicines and other supplies will be given at their homes. This will allow the mentally handicapped to live amongst their loved ones and in the comfort of a home, and not a hospital.
However, personally, it makes me sick as to how a person or a family as a whole can be so stone hearted as to leaving their loved ones, regardless of their condition, at a hospital and refusing to ever visit them.
Source: Saudi Gazette
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