On October 10 every year, World Mental Health Day is observed in more than 100 countries. Celebrated since 1992, this event is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) and is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO). Several activities organized at both regional and National level include educational lectures and various advocacy programmes to raise public awareness on mental health issues, besides investing in prevention and treatment services.
Today, most psychiatrists agree that about one-third of schizophrenia cases are curable. A positive approach for integrating schizophrenics back into the web of society is the ‘family therapy’ where all the family members of an individual diagnosed with schizophrenia are appropriately informed about this mental illness and how a congenial family atmosphere can contribute towards better improvement in patient’s condition. Such advocacy efforts for education families to improve patient care at home, through compassionate understanding of this mental disorder, can avoid unnecessary hospital visits and even reduce the drug dose of such patients.
It ultimately rests with the ‘sane’ individuals of the family and society as a whole to remove the stigma associated with schizophrenia and accept their less fortunate brothers and sisters suffering from this disorder as an integral part of family/society, and provide them a supportive and tolerant environment that naturally draws such people back into the social network.