Abuse of psychiatric patients in custody raises concerns

National

PSYCHIATRIC patients put in police cells to be stabilised for treatments are often abused by other detainees, an official says.
During the Health Mental Day observation in Madang on Tuesday, mental health specialist Sister Martina Tolane said the psychiatric patients’ cell block at the mental clinic in the Modilon Hospital had not been completed and patients had to be kept in police cells.
She said keeping mentally-ill patients in the cells with detainees was not safe.
Madang police have advised the Modilon Hospital authorities to build a separate cell for patients.
She said Madang had more than 1000 patients receiving treatment at the mental clinic. There are only four specialists including herself serving them.
“Mental problems are curable and those patients who visit the clinic regularly have been cured. We have many success stories,” Tolane said.
“Many patients decided not to come to the clinic for treatment and most of them needed family support to help them complete their treatments.”
People with mental problems are given antipsychotic drugs and need to get them regularly.
Those who miss their treatments are the ones who break down and end up in the streets.
A Catholic church organisation is available to provide care, food and hospitality for psychiatric patients in Madang. A spokeswoman said they would also provide skills trainings such as cooking and sewing for the patients to help them recover.

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