Fifty-year-old Richard Gonsalves (name changed) was in for a surprise when he walked into his office on Saturday: a cake sat on his desk and surrounding it were the beaming faces of his colleagues. Gonsalves is one of the many people who are leading a normal life after being treated at the Thane Mental Hospital.
While Gonsalves was dropped at the institution by his family, over the last two years, Thane Mental Hospital — the state’s biggest facility for psychologically ill patients — with help from the Neptune Foundation, has picked up 53 mentally ill destitutes from the streets, right from Ghatkopar till Kalva, and offered them treatment. Of these 53 people, 30 have been reunited with their families within a year.
Neptune Foundation picks up homeless people suffering from mental disorders from the streets, and gets them admitted at Thane mental hospital with help from the police and with due court permissions. Their treatment includes medication along with counseling, and once their health improves and they manage to remember details about their kin, the foundation reunites them with their families.
One such person is Abhinav More (name changed), who was found on the streets in Mulund. After offering him initial medication, he was shifted to the mental hospital wherein after treatment, he managed to divulge a few random details about his hometown. Soon, his family was traced and he was reunited with his mother and two brothers.
“Since the patients stay without their families, our staff takes complete responsibility to look after them. All of us are like a big family,” said, Dr RY Shirsat, medical superintendent (regional), Thane Mental Hospital.
One of the most successful stories would be that of Gonsalves. “After receiving treatment, my life has taken a drastic turn. Eventually, after I was discharged and reunited with my family, I started working as an administration supervisor at Neptune Foundation itself,” he said.