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Mental illness on the rise in Nagaland

Kohima, Jan. 28: Nagaland has witnessed a rise in cases of mental illness.

Viketoulie Pienyu of State Mental Health Institute in Kohima attributed the rise to stress.

“Everyone has become vulnerable to mental illness,” he said. Factors like abuse of alcohol and drugs are also responsible for the rise.

Correspondingly, there has also been a rise in Christian prayer centres, which have healed persons with mental illness and other complicated health problems through prayer and counselling.

As a result, these prayer centres have become very popular, Pienyu said. But so far there has been no proof of their success.

He said the institute, with four doctors and over 25 employees, has been going a yeoman service. “We are satisfied with whatever facilities we have in this institute,” he said.

Pienyu said society instead of being sympathetic towards the patients, have been discriminating against them. “The patients’ feelings are very similar to ours,” he added.

He said even after patients were discharged from the institute, some relapse because of society’s failure to take care of them owing to stigma. “We need to create awareness in society to do away with discrimination,” he said.