Disability poses greater challenges in obtaining the needed range of services. Persons with disabilities face several forms of discrimination and has reduced access to education, employment and other socioeconomic opportunities. In India, there is an increase of proportion of disabled population. There are two broad categories of disability, one is acquired which means disability acquired because of accidents and medical reasons the other is disability since the onset of birth. According to the National Sample Survey Organisation Report, about one-third of the disabled population have disability since their birth. There are interstate and interregional differences in the disabled population. The disabled face various types of barriers while seeking access to health and health services. There are different types of disability and the needs of the disabled differ accordingly. Among those who are disabled women, children and aged are more vulnerable and need attention. Mental illness is a prominent form of disability. Five out of ten leading causes of disability and premature death worldwide are due to psychiatric conditions. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental disorders. Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, although less common are profoundly disabling. The other area of concern is the mental health of women and the elderly. Neurotic and stress related cases are reportedly higher among women than men though among men there is reporting of higher number of cases of serious illness. Dementia and major depression are two of the leading contributors to mental diseases in older people. But inspite of such proportion of mental illness, the health care provisions for persons with mental illness are very poor in India. People with mental illness face severe forms of human rights violations. In Special Homes, Hospitals and Asylums, they are kept in chains, denied basic needs like food, clothing and face different forms of abuse. There is social stigma attached to mental illness. Women with mental illness are subjected to physical and sexual abuse both within families and the institutions. The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995, commonly referred as the PWD Act came into force on Feb. 7, 1996. Mental illness has been considered in the Act, but there is no reference to any provision within the Act to be given or set aside for people with mental illness. The Act also does not assure the right to treatment.
VULNERABILITY DUE TO DISABILITY: