Anisul Karim's death once again exposed the poor condition of treatment facilities for patients with mental illness in the country. To improve this situation, it is important to bring the health care of these institutions under scrutiny and to check how scientific their management is.
Anisul Karim, the late senior assistant superintendent of police, was an alumnus of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Jahangirnagar University.
He was appointed as a police officer in the 31st BCS.
Most recently he was working at Barishal Metropolitan Police.
According to family sources, he was suffering from mental health problems.
On the morning of November 9, he was taken to Mind Aid Hospital in the capital's Adabar area.
Shortly after his admission, he died prematurely at the hands of some hospital staff.
The hospital authorities claimed that they were trying to calm him down due to his unruly behaviour.
According to the victim's brother, Anisul had high blood pressure and heart disease. But neither of these was so serious.
He believes that Anisul died because of the beating by the hospital staff.
It is clear what happened that day from the account of the incident published in media.
Moreover, CCTV footage of the incident was also found, which testified that the untimely death was due to physical abuse at the hands of the hospital staff.
This means that another name has been added to a long list of unnatural deaths in the country, where the persons killed are some of the most meritorious children of this soil.
The people who are accused of being the catalyst of his death are hospital officials and employees, professionally whose commitment should have been saving people's lives.
Naturally, it is difficult to accept this death, not only for the family but also for the country and society as well.
So, there will be a strong social reaction, there will be news headlines, there will be tears.
Maybe the culprits will be punished according to the law – that is normal.
A naive child lost his father and became an orphan, a wife lost her husband and became a widow.
Will this irreparable loss ever be compensated? Life never stops.
Friends and relatives will come forward with help and cooperation and, God willing, their lives may move forward well by His infinite mercy, but the damage that has been done is never going to be compensated.
Sick people go to the hospital to recover. You could say, this is the last hope of the sick people.
Many of these people, who go in the hope of recovery, can never come back alive.
The death of a loved one is a tragedy for people.
Relatives bring them back from the hospital with tears in their eyes. Do you see people complaining about this?
No. So, why are there so many discussions in this case? It is simply because this death was not normal.
This happened as a result of poor management and faulty patient handling of the hospital.
That a mentally ill patient will behave rudely is quite expected. That is why he was taken to the hospital.
Now, if the methodology of calming down a mental health patient in a hospital is applying force without restraint, it must be said that rather than curing him, we are actually handing him over to another group of mentally ill people.
One might be curious to know if this is an isolated incident or this method is often used in these treatment centres to cure mental illness.
The treatment and management of mental illness are no less important than that of physical illness.
Rather, you can say that in many instances the inconsistencies that occur in the human body are just the manifestation of the mental problems.
The physical and mental health is intimately related. If you have a sound physique, you will have a cheerful mind.
Again, if the mind is sound, the body also will be in full swing.
According to psychologists, mental health has a huge impact on the overall physiological processes of the human body.
Mental stress plays an important role in the improvement and deterioration of many diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Many feel that this is one of the most neglected aspects of health management in this country.
Some people in society are born with mental disabilities.
Besides, family-related and social stresses lead to different degrees of mental problems in many people.
It may range from talking nonsense or getting angry for no reason to serious insanity.
These types of patients are sometimes depressed, while hyper-active at other times.
In extreme cases, it can even lead people to take extreme actions, such as suicide or homicide.
Most often people do not understand what to do in such cases due to lack of awareness in general.
Apart from lack of public awareness, the country still does not seem to have developed a good setup for the management of mental illness.
Anisul Karim's death once again exposed the poor condition of modern treatment facilities for the management of mental illness patients in the country.
Many such mental health care and drug rehab centres have been set up in the country where attempts are made to cure the patient through medical treatment.
However, such coercion to keep the patient "calm" is often heard, which becomes newspaper headlines in the event of a major accident.
To improve this situation, it is important to bring the health care of these institutions under scrutiny and to check how scientific their management is.
However, more than that, there is a need to create public awareness about mental health, focusing on creating an adequate number of psychiatrists and building a sufficient number of modern mental health centres under government supervision.
Building a strong cell for the treatment of mental illness in each hospital can also be considered.
It will remain incomplete without mentioning another issue here.
The most important thing to improve the condition of a mentally retarded or sick person is the mental support of the people around him.
A touch of sincerity, a loving hug, a few sweet words may play a big role in brightening their mood.
Unfortunately, due to lack of proper education or awareness in our society, a large section of the society plays the exact opposite role.
They treat mentally ill people poorly, ignoring and laughing at them.
Often, they do not get proper support. Rather they are neglected even in their own family.
For the most part, it is simply the result of a poor culture and unawareness in the society, not an expression of hatred or animosity.
However, this adverse attitude of society further aggravates their mental illness.
Some unscrupulous people cheat them by taking advantage of their mental disability.
Strong campaigns focusing on raising social awareness are needed to address this situation.
There is also a need to take various public awareness and training programmes.
Everyone should understand that it is part of the overall responsibility of the society to stand by these troubled people and help them recover.
The writer is a professor of Pharmacy at Jahangirnagar University