When mentally ill patients turned eager customers

  • By Hindu
  • | Saturday | 13th January, 2018

| Photo Credit: HANDOUTFor once, mentally ill inmates of Anbalayam, a city-based voluntary organisation working for the cause of wandering mentally ill, enjoyed an outing they will not forget the rest of their lives. There were at least a couple of instances when the mentally ill women inmates went for second choice of dresses after finding their first choices expensive. After purchase of garments, the women inmates were taken in a mini van to Big Bazaar street for purchase of ear rings and fancy chains. Happy moments: Inmates of Anbalayam were a contented lot after choosing their new dresses at a retail outlet in Tiruchi. And, the sales personnel at the showroom put them at ease while catering to their special customers.

Happy moments: Inmates of Anbalayam were a contented lot after choosing their new dresses at a retail outlet in Tiruchi. | Photo Credit: HANDOUT



For once, mentally ill inmates of Anbalayam, a city-based voluntary organisation working for the cause of wandering mentally ill, enjoyed an outing they will not forget the rest of their lives.

In fact, 31 inmates of the home, including 11 women, could not conceal their excitement when they got an opportunity to select new sets of clothes for Pongal. And they had a field day for about two hours as customers of Ahmed Brothers, a garment retail outlet in the city on Wednesday.

And, the sales personnel at the showroom put them at ease while catering to their special customers.

The inmates, some of them from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Hindi heartland, faced no hitches in making known their desire of the dresses through gestures.

Nevertheless, a volunteer Anand, conversant in these languages accompanied them to the outlet to help them out.

For Anbalayam, the initiative was a unique way of celebrating the 28th anniversary, said its founder T.K.S. Senthil Kumar.

"Would you believe? All these special customers were once wandering in the streets. These inmates are now able to take care of themselves, and some are even capable of taking up employment," said Mr. Senthilkumar.

There were some touching moments as one of the inmates with a new dress in hand ran up to Mr. Senthil Kumar and sought his blessings.

There were at least a couple of instances when the mentally ill women inmates went for second choice of dresses after finding their first choices expensive.

After purchase of garments, the women inmates were taken in a mini van to Big Bazaar street for purchase of ear rings and fancy chains.

The expenditure towards the dresses and the fancy items was sponsored by the Secretary of Hindu Mission Hospital, Subramanian and Managing Director of Welding Quality Concepts, Kattur, Mahadevan.

Experimentation with the socialisation process was meant to determine the preparedness of the inmates for societal main-streaming, Mr. Senthilkumar said, observing that a sense of independence and self-esteem could be infused in them.

A similar attempt will shortly be made to assess the response of those inmates with severe mental retardation to socialisation process, Mr. Senthilkumar said.

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