Mental Health Tsunami on World Mental Health Day 2016

Numerous efforts have been made by the NGOs and interest groups in India nowadays to address mental health issues. Particularly Depression and Anxiety alone will surpass heart disease and diabetes in next 4-5 years. on this concern, bollywood actress Deepika Padukone come forward to fight against depression, her initiative and efforts were seen and well praised by the media during the launch of Nationwide Launch of Campaign against Mental Illness, held on 10th October 2016 at Hotel ITC Maurya, New Delhi on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.

img_3580@ Chief Guest of the event launch: Smt. Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Govt. of India. addressing the event on mental health issues and initiatives.

The event was to boost The Live Love laugh Foundation’s PR and bring out as a new emerging NGO founded by Deepika Padukone to address depression. The launch event was begin with lighting of lamp, followed by inaugural speech of panel members  1) Dr. K. Agarwal, President elect, IMA 2) Dr. Rao, President IPS 3) Dr. Anna Chandy, Chairperson TLLLF 4) Dr. Vikram Patel, Sangath Goa 5) Deepika Padukone and on compeering Dr. Shyam Bhat co-hosted the event. Dr. Shyam Bhat is also a trustee in Love Love Laugh Foundation.

In the Panel discussion, various issues were discussed pertain to mental health and mental illness, particularly for adolescent / youngster suicides, depression and mental illnesses due to changing lifestyle and personal and professional expectations in life.

Dr. Agarwal, IMA President has made a very important decision and committed that the Indian Medical Association will mandate for new batch of General Practitioners to undergo at least 10% of their curriculum / internship on mental health and diagnostic learning. against its present only 30 hours of psychiatry practicum. Also, Dr. Agarwal laid emphasis to provide with psychiatry training to practicing General Physicians / doctors (MBBS)  on mental illnesses, counseling and diagnosis and also referring such patients to psychiatrist. on otherway Dr. Agarwal also shared his concern with the new mental health bill to be passed in the parliament, said there were limitation with the current practitioners with limited knowledge and resources addressing mental health and treatment is not free at all, therefore patients will get admitted with physical illness recording and complaints. so as to provide with medical insurance for treatment cost. whereas, at present there’s no social security scheme or medical treatment is provided free of cost by govt. and insurance companies have objection to consider mental health under the insurance benefits.

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It was estimated that, there are only 6500 psychiatrist in India against 1.3 Billion population, every 2 minutes one commits suicide among youngsters, depression is the leading cause in suicidal deaths.

on her turn Deepika, shared a very important and expressive reason behind increasing prevalence of mental illness, and that was because of STIGMA around mental illness, that leads the person helpless and miserable to fight and despair against mental health issues.

@ Video of Deepika sharing her views on mental health and depression during the launch of nationwide campaign against depression through her founding NGO The Live love Laugh Foundation. 

while delivering her speech, at one point Deepika break down seeing her mother and said that, “I was really thankful that my mother was there to help me and understand my situation, supported me throughout the treatment and today what I am that is because of you”.

In concluding remarks, the panel members and invited guests had admired the initiatives of TLLLF, and shown their full support to fight against depression. Immediately after which the campaing was launched. the hashtag of the campaign against depression was #Dobarapoocho

After the launch, the I met with Shri, Prasoon Joshi, famous laureate, write and lyricist of bollywood who is a chief mentor to the Live Love Laugh Initiative, and on Deepika’s personal request remained present in the launch event.

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Kudos to the TLLLF team, for the new beginning and initiative to fight against depression. At many points during discussion at the launch event, it was realised that so much of the same was done, learned and addressed by The MINDS Foundation India during its past five years rigorous mental health programmes. At one moment thought to sit with the panel members and also make media personnel aware of what MINDS Foundation had done in past, especially with research on knowledge and attitudes towards depression among different community and health worker groups.

Thanks to Natasha Vijay, Ashu Calapa and Anisha Padukone for inviting me to the event and to let me understand their views and thoughts on mental health / depression. Would say So much to learn, many more to teach / share and train on mental health initiatives carried out by The Mental Illness and Neurological Disorders Foundation India. (MINDS)

 

Amul …Program Manager at The MINDS Foundation.  

 

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Changes and Challenges are Good!!

Hi all,

It’s been very long since the last blog was published by one of the MINDS contributor on site field program at Vadodara. Its indeed a challenging time to sustain the MINDS onsite program for school education on mental health. Staff shortages, direct on duty and less orientation time, auxiliary tasks and weather challenges are some of the key factor that hampers MINDS program goals.

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Team Spirit!! (in funny way the team named it after popular snack shop of vadodara YO Frankie!! deriving … Yo Minds Team… Good memories to share with this photo of Left to right: (Sowmya, Dhara, Amul & Yuvraj, and of course our very own Rachel Fischer)

On finance, few setback were there, as MINDS lead partner The GlobeMed Chapter at University of Washington had ended up their partnership. Whereas, I (Program Manager) and Program Associate (Dhara Joshi), shifted to new location out of the State to work in different social intervention. However, attached to the MINDS vision and grassroots approaches with different Mental Health program, like to associated with MINDS on longer terms. Thanks to Raghu Sir (Founder and CEO) to continue me as MINDS Program Manager to manage the work even remotely, through virtual communications to look after field staff and assess the progress of work.

At present, MINDS foundation co-partnered with The Live Love Laugh Foundation of (the Deepika Padukone) to conduct targeted school education program on mental health. for 2016-17 MINDS aims to expand its reach to more than 75 villages and equal numbers of schools, providing mental health education to around 10,000 Children and 450 Teachers across Vadodara and Chhota Udepur district clusters and villages.

In addition, the June-July 2016 months was also very important and value adding to MINDS core activity, as MINDS in partnership with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai had conducted research on “knowledge and attitudes towards Mental Health among ASHA and Anganwadi Workers of Gujarat”. Significant data collection had been done by the hard-working team of Mount Sinai MPH students Ms. Qainat Shah and Ms. Pooja Dave along with Ms. Vasundhara Thakur and Mr. Chintan Thakkar (our newly appointed Social Worker). near about 150 samples have been collected proportionately to have the sense of mental health impressions among the target group. The publication of the research will be carried out in next 8 to 10 months. Excited though to get the results / conclusions and suggestions to include new focus group for mental health project and develop strategies for community intervention program.

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Illustrative photo of Program Manager (Amul) and Program Associate (Dhara) with Dr. Amy Aloysi (ISMMS) and Dr. Rachel Fischer (PG4 ISMMS), during Govt. Mental Health Hospital visit in Vadodara.

The kind of mid review of MINDS for 2016-17 is on going, and feeling confident that next months will be more focused, target oriented and achievable. Though different circumstances and changes in staff, structure and program, at MINDS the grassroots approach to eliminate stigma around mental health will be dealt and addressed to the higher extent of possible.

Wish, for humble support and partnership for months to come too!! As Changes and Challenges are good !!

Do not forget to write your views and comments if any!! in comment box..please

Seeahh!!

Amul

 

School Education Programs This Week!

This past week, MINDS began work on our Live, Love, Laugh collaboration in school programming.We have been putting together and editing English and Gujarati presentational Powerpoints geared towards both primary and secondary school children. In these presentations MINDS staff and GROW interns will present specifically on the stigma and treatments surrounding anxiety, stress, and depression.

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Anxiety, stress, and depression are relevant to school children due to pressures of school work, hormonal changes, and growing expectations. 6-7% (70 million) of India’s population suffers from mental health concerns, and India has the highest rate of youth suicides. These are facts that cannot be ignored, and that is why MINDS aims to present to as many urban and rural Gujarati schools as possible.

On Monday we went by three urban, English schools to ask permission from their principals to give presentations. The presentations usually last around 45 minutes, and we have made them both interactive and visually stimulating for the children. We will also give pre and post assessments to gage the success of the program and the information gained by the school children. Two of the three schools were extremely receptive to our ask. They understood our mission and the need to present this important information. We should have presentations set up with these two schools within a week or two.

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A slide from the English school presentation

On Tuesday and Wednesday we went to five rural, Gujarati primary and secondary schools in the Waghodiya Taluka to ask their principals’ permission to give Gujarati presentations. The Gujarati presentation is exactly the same as the English presentation, just in Gujarati. All five schools granted their permission, and one school wants us to come back and give a demo presentation before setting up a full one.

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Sometimes it’s slow going when out of the city
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Gam of Waghodiya

Like the urban schools, we will be scheduling the rural school programs in the next two weeks, so MINDS staff will be extremely busy for the next few weeks giving presentations!

Stay tuned for more!

Exciting Changes Here at MINDS!

The MINDS office is looking a little different during this year’s monsoon season! It is bustling with all sorts of new faces and activity.

Vasundhara, longtime staff member and social worker with us, has taken on a bigger role as  Program Director. This summer, she successfully transitioned MINDS through our new partnership with the Live, Love, Laugh Foundation. We would also like to introduce a new MINDS staff and social worker, Chintan! Chintan is already doing great work in the field with his persistent and friendly attitude.

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There are also three different groups of university students interning for the foundation. One, is the University of Washington GlobeMed’s GROW team from Seattle, Washington! They have been partnered with MINDS for 3 years now, and send a group of four interns each summer to build a relationship and do any needed work. This summer the interns will be setting up and giving presentations to English primary and secondary schools on anxiety, stress, and depression.

IMG_0775Two MPH students from Mt. Sinai are working with MINDS to conduct research on mental health awareness within the anganwadi and asha working communities! These two interns will collect 100 survey samples from both urban and rural areas, so they have a lot of work to do this summer. Finally, there are two new, year-long interns from Parul University. They are both working on a bachelor’s degree in social work. They are already an incredible asset to the MINDS team!

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This large, new team is already hard at work on a few different projects. Stay tuned for more to come!

The Hospital for Mental Health, Vadodara

The Hospital for Mental Health, Vadodara is located in Karelibaug

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

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MINDS is hiring!!

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Hello Friends, supporters and well-wishers…

MINDS Foundation currently hiring staff for its field program for Community mental health awareness and school mental health education program. The positions are entry level position and involved extensive field travelling. Therefore male are preferred to apply. Following are the details of current openings.

Continue reading “MINDS is hiring!!”

Mental Health Community Awareness Program- Madheli

MINDS went to the village of Madheli to conduct a Mental Health Community Awareness Program. In the center of the village there is a large banyan tree and next to this tree there is a peaceful lake. This area provides a shady and serene place for villages to gather and relax.We conducted the program outside the village temple, next to the dairy.

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Staff member speaking to local women who came to the dairy to deposit their dairy collection

This is where villagers come to get their milk and also deposit milk for payment (the fattier the milk, the more money you get). The dairy culture of India fuels economic activity in many rural villages. It was obvious which families were more prosperous, they were grouped on one side of the village- closer in proximity to the temple and dairy- and had bigger homes and more land. Diary is a staple in the Indian diet, as a result animal husbandry is a common occupation.

The presentation attracted the interest of the village children. Two children volunteered (with the condition that we pay them 10 rupees each!) to hold down our screen so it would not move with the wind. The children gathered around the set-up and asked many questions. We encouraged their curiosity because children are often a gateway into a community. They can take the knowledge they receive back to their parents and it will hopefully stay with them into adolescence and adulthood. We chose this location due to the close proximity to the dairy. Each evening villagers frequent this area for their milk ration. Several community members mentioned that they know of someone who exhibited symptoms related to mental and neurological illness. One laborer from Rajasthan told us that he knew of a person who suffered from seizures and that when he goes back to his hometown, he will pass along the information and tell that person to go to the hospital.

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