Treat people with mental disabilities with love, care

Picture: 123RF/DMITRII SHIRONOSOV
Picture: 123RF/DMITRII SHIRONOSOV

I would like to voice my dismay at how some families treat mentally disabled members. It is disheartening to observe people with mental disabilities being treated as outcasts by people who should be loving and caring for them.

Most families who have such members have virtually imprisoned them in their own yards. These unfortunate people are further  isolated in their homes through inadequate accommodation, food and other necessities.

People with mental disabilities are also seen as a burden and embarrassment to the family. It hurts because they never chose to be in that position. When there are visitors, for example, they are either locked away in their poorly kept rooms or told to keep their distance and their mouths shut.

The situation gets worse when the mentally disabled are given their own utensils to use for their meals and told not to touch others in the house. Other children in the family are taught not to be around their ill siblings or relatives.

Why would you treat a family member as an outcast just because of his or her unfortunate mental situation? The only time these people matter is when their social grants come through, or when they are asked to perform certain chores.

The money they receive from the government hardly works for them. This is evident in the clothes they wear, or any other thing they need for survival.

I therefore implore everyone to treat people with mentally disabilities with humanity; they are human too. Let us not make them feel alienated, as that will render them even more vulnerable. May sanity prevail.

Malphia Honwane
Gottenburg eManyeleti

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