New Life Psychiatric Rehab Center
Provision of a safe home environment for psychiatric patients of the United Mission Hospital Tansen who have no home, or for various reasons cannot be discharged into the care of their own family. This “New Life Psychiatric Rehab Center” has the vision to provide holistic care to its residents, believing that every single person is God’s creation having Body, Mind and Spirit. Every effort will be made to explore the possibility for their skill development and to rehabilitate them to suitable vocations wherever it is practical and applicable, with the aim of many of them returning to live in the community.
Usually doctors can discharge patients to their home and family when they complete their treatment. But there is one group of patients admitted to the United Mission Hospital, Tansen that have no safe place to go to. Some of them get stranded in the hospital after being deserted by their families, or friends. Examples of such people are: people who do not have any family to look after them, wives deserted by their husband because of a chronic illness, or because he has a second wife, those brought by social workers or by the police from the street in poor health, persons chronically depressed, who have been abandoned by their family because they are a burden. Patients needing regular psychiatric drugs become a burden for even a well functioning family; we find that many default on their treatment
There are several reasons for these kinds of problems; the many years of conflict in the country has increased the number of displaced families, migration of the bread-winner leaving their dependent family members at home, and rising depression rates due to high unemployment rates or some type of failure in life (economic/financial loss, broken relationships, failed exams, no support in the family etc, the daily struggle to make end meet)
The hospital does not have the capacity to house many of these people long term. Although in the past we have kept people on the ward or in rooms outside for up to 18 months, an acute hospital is not the best place for them. However we cannot send them out onto the street again as they require at least their basic needs met for, shelter, food and clothing and simple drugs like anti depressives. They also need love and a caring environment to reach the point where they can be independent once more.
The driving force behind this project is Pun Narayan Shrestha our pastoral care in charge. He was touched by the plight of several patients who passed through the hospital. It was very difficult and expensive to find placements for some patients. Some patients who we spent months or more looking after in Tansen were “lost” again after sending to a home in Kathmandu or returning to their family. This was heartbreaking. Others were readmitted in a worse condition because no one looked after them and they stopped taking their medicines. He had the vision to start the New Life Psychiatric rehab center.
After discussing this at hospital level, and getting approval from the management team, he involved the municipality and the Tansen municipality chief called an interaction program for all stakeholders in the Municipality Hall and all agreed this was a problem that needed addressing. A working committee was established, and it was decided to open a center in rented accommodation to accommodate 4 patients that we had at that time.
The center opened on March 5, 2013. The chief guest was the District Judge and many local government office chief’s, representatives of local NGOs, press, hospital staff, church leaders and Mission Nepal members were present. Many were touched by the stories they heard and donated some money.
The center is a joint project of the hospital, the District Development Committee (DDC), the Municipality – Tansen Nagarpolika (TNP) and the local churches NGO – Mission Nepal, which is responsible for various integral mission type of activities of the local churches. The DDC and TNP agreed to supply some funding (this is very limited) and although the original agreement stated that they would provide land, the officials changed and we realized that it is impossible for government to allocate land to an NGO so they have now promised some funds for building but this is likely to be a small proportion of the total needed. Mission Nepal is the NGO that can receive local funding and has helped mobilize the churches to get involved by sending volunteers etc.