|The programmes of Punar Jeevan are designed to cover the whole
area of Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari districts of Tamil
Tirunelveli district has a geographical area of 6823 sq. K.M
and it has a population of 28,01,194. Tuticorin district has a
geographical area of 4261 sq.K.M and it has the population of
15,65,743. Kanyakumari district has the geographical area of 1239.22
sq. K.M and it has the population of 15,83,124.
The principal occupations of the rural population are: Agriculture,
handicrafts, cottage industries, construction, fishing, cattle
rearing and other petty business activities. The people in the
urban areas are mostly white-collar employees in the area at teaching,
Govt. or private employment and town based business activities.
Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts are drought prone districts.
As a result these districts witness unemployment, poverty, dropouts
from school and frustration. In Kanyakumari districts there is
a problem of educated unemployment and this brings tension, substance
abuse, violence and suicide mainly among the youth. Owing to continued
mental stress there are group clashes, addiction, suicide, sexual
abuse, divorce, psychosomatic illness and many other forms of
both minor and major illness.
The stigma associated with mental illness, the fear of social
ostracism, unaffordable treatment and the myths that mental illness
is contagious or incurable; force many to try several crude methods
before seeking psychiatric help.
A great number of patients are kept in Churches and temples for
their mental illness on the assumption that evil sprits have influenced
them. They are being treated inhumanly. Some of the patients are
roaming around in the streets. Superstitious beliefs, occult practices,
fortune telling, astrology, palm reading, witch doctors, religious
fanatics, quacks- all these lead to the exploitation of the patients.