Guest Post by RUPANDE MEHTA
By now it is all beginning to sound very familiar: A woman gang raped, her vital organs missing, stones and blades found in her stomach, other objects found in her anus and vagina and the doctor conducting the post mortem stating it was the most horrific case of his life. This case, however, has one additional parameter – the woman raped and killed was mentally challenged and being treated for her condition at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Rohtak, Haryana.
There is conflicting information on the mental condition of the woman raped and killed. While some reports state she was suffering mental retardation, others state her as condition as being psychiatric. Never mind that mental retardation is untreatable but the contradiction in reporting highlights a fact we all know – how widely misunderstood mental illness really is.
Mental illness is the most undertreated of all diseases around the world. There is an unspoken stigma around it and most sufferers usually do not want to talk about their “condition.” We have a difficult time grasping its severity and hence victims usually quietly suffer on their own until the situation often gets very serious. Many famous people have suffered mental illness and it has taken many of them years to come out and acknowledge their suffering. Few of them have fallen to their disease, the most notable recent case being that of Robin Williams who suffered from extreme depression. Other personalities who suffered mental illness include: Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of UK, Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, Beethoven, musical genius, Diana, Princess of Wales who suffered from bulimia, an eating disorder, and depression. Mental illness is the most unrecognized and, perhaps, one of the most damning diseases.