The Hospital for Mental Health, Vadodara is located in Karelibaug
The mental health hospital is bustling with activity. The main hall is usually filled with patients, social workers, staff members, and physicians. The new buildings and renovations have created a peaceful atmosphere. During our visit, the facility was clean and I saw peacocks roaming the garden and monkeys were drinking water from clay pots and climbing trees. The hospital has space for patients to walk, sit under shady trees, and observe nature. The hospital has made it a point to treat psychiatric patients with dignity and respect. In the last decade quality standards have been raised to ensure patients receive ethical treatment and care.
In order to keep patients active and engaged, the hospital has an occupational therapy unit which helps keep patients busy with meaningful and creative work. The activity center had rows of sewing machines, carpentry tools, and space to work. The patients at the hospital make their own uniforms, the men wear blue cotton trousers and checkered cotton shirts. The women wear gowns or light orange salwar suits. Sometimes the mental hospital receives orders from other medical institutions for clothing, pillow covers, aprons, mattresses etc. and the patients take part in making each item. In addition, the unit also produces files, broomsticks, and mattresses, sometimes even rakhis!
In addition, patients take part in daily activities in the arts. They draw, color, put on small skits, and play musical instruments. Patients display their artwork, stories, and poems around the activity center. The hospital also has yoga classes for patients and encourages them to participate in physical activity.
The hospital also has “De-addiction ward” which mainly focuses on tobacco cessation and alcoholism. Other substances are not too prevalent in Gujarat so the hospital focuses mainly on these two issues.