26 February, 2021

Paripurnata seeks to redefine mental illness

Paripurnata seeks to redefine mental illness
Every society has its outcastes. And the space that was once occupied by ‘lepers’, during the middle ages, has now become the domain of the mentally ill. Cut off from the field of ‘normal’ human interaction, many of the chronically ill spend their lives ostracised by the society and their families—often confined for excruciatingly long periods in mental hospitals. The problem is worse for underprivileged women patients.

Dr Joyce Siromoni, disturbed by this isolation, decided to float a half-way home for women who have been confined in jails/mental hospitals. Her West Bengal-based non-profit, non-voluntary organisation, Paripurnata, prepares them for rehabilitation and helps them integrate into the wider society.

Siromoni, a specialist from Vellore, was always an active social worker. She was closely associated with nimhans, Bangalore, which worked in the area of suicide prevention and rehabilitation of the mentally ill. She settled in Calcutta in 1985 and continued with her social work. But the direction of her philanthropy was in for a big transformation. In 1990,...

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