Punjab Institute of Mental Health (PIMH) also known as Mental Hospital is located in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. It is the largest facility in South Asia for the psychiatrically ill patients. Hospital is spread over 50 acres of area with 1400 beds and green laws spread around the wards. Though it is located in Punjab but it deals with the patients from all over the Pakistan including Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The Out-patient Department takes care of 500 to 600 patients daily.
History of Mental Hospital can be traced back to 1812 when Dr. Honigberger who belonged to Hungry and came to work as state physician of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Initially he dealt with the close relatives and friends of notables. Dr. Honigberger was appointed to gunpowder factory and was also asked by the city’s General Hospital latterly known as Al-Shifa to treat general patients as well, after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Here in this hospital Dr. Honigberger established a ward for the mentally disturbed patients. Initially it was named as Central Lunatic Asylum. After taking over the Punjab by British, Dr. Honigberger shifted his 12 patients to the district civil surgeon Dr. Smith at Lahore. The judicial commissioner of Punjab in 1854 decided to build the mental hospital on the location where it is located today.
However, because of certain reasons it could not be constructed and kept shifting on various places until 1900. After building the hospital, Col. Dr. Ewen was appointed as first psychiatrist who served here until his death in 1914. No psychiatrist was appointed here until 1922. Dr. Lodge Patch took the charge of hospital and worked hard. He built the new buildings at hospital and as a result number of patients increased to 1400.
After 1900, hospital was named as Government Mental Hospital and then renamed in 1996 as Government hospital for Psychiatric Diseases. In 2002, hospital was finally named as Punjab Institute of Mental Health under the Mental Health Ordinance in 2001 that replaced Lunacy Act of 1912.
After the Indo-Pak partition three mental hospitals of Lahore, Peshawar and Hyderabad were inherited by Pakistan.
Several departments are working in Mental Hospital. Functioning departments here to provide the aid and care to mentally disturbed patients are emergency Department, out-Patient Department, special care unit for male and female, EEG Department, ECT Department, Dental Out-Patient Department, Rehabilitation Units for males and females, Addiction Unit for male and female, occupational therapy unit, Clinical Psychology Department, private ward, Nursing care set up and Library. There are five sub departments in In-door patient departments for males and females. These sub departments are divided as Unit “A”, Unit “B”, Unit “C”, Unit “D” and Unit “E”.
Additional Medical Superintendent supervise the Emergency Department and is headed by the Consultant Psychiatrist and three Medical Officers keeps rounding the emergency departments and for assistance Para medical and lower staff is also available. Medicines to patients are provided free. Pathological laboratory and EEG departments is also established here in this double story building of Emergency. Though, it does not encompasses the indoor services but still it has a 10 bedded indoor facility or the patients who are in need to be kept under observation.
Free consultation, medicines and therapeutic interventions are provided free to the patients who visit the outpatient departments with mental disturbance and psychiatric problems. Dental outpatient department, radiology department and ultrasonography departments are working here in this department and an average patient of 500 to 600 per is dealt here. One registrar, two consultant psychiatrists, four to five medical officers and clinical psychologists and medical social workers work here in all the working days in morning hours.
There are five psychiatric in-door units and each unit has 1800 beds for male and females. Two consultants, one registrar, four to five medical officers, Para medical and lower staff are appointed in each unit to take care of patients. For the psychotic patients who suffer from some physical illness special care unit is established. Rehabilitation unit for both male and female psychiatric patients who regain some insight about their illness is also working to provide the opportunities to them so can be actively engaged in physical and mental activities. Patients here are indulged in indoor and outdoor activities. Ludo, karam Board and table tennis are the indoor games and for outdoor games cricket, volleyball, badminton etc are played here. Library for the literate patients is also established. Female patients are encouraged to get involved in stitching, embroidery and making of decoration pieces.
The occupational therapy in the rehabilitation aims to teach the skills and train the treated patients some job skills so after being discharged from the hospital they could be able earn without facing any pressures and problems. Weaving, tailoring, woodwork and block smith are the skills that are being taught here. Agro therapy unit is started for the patients belong to rural background. Patients are motivated to work to grow fruits and vegetables.
An addiction unit is also working to treat the male and female drug addict patients admitted here. This unit is having 30 beds. A rehab center is also established here to help these patients to get involved in healthy and physical activities that could be helpful in the detoxification process.
Dramatic and musical club is also here and it tries to arrange different drama and musical programs to keep patients busy in healthy activities. Students from all over the Punjab visit the Mental Hospital to complete their projects. This institute also provides the training to the psychology and medical students.