Mansik Arogya is the Gujarati term for Mental Health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Mental Health as “a state of well being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
The state of Gujarat is India’s westernmost state. The MINDS Foundation is a nonprofit based in the Vadodara district of Gujarat. The MINDS ( Mental Illness & Neurological Disorders) Foundation is committed to a grassroots approach to eliminate stigma and provide educational, medical, and moral support for patients with mental illness in rural India.
Multiple factors affect mental health including biological, socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental determinants. The ability of a person to deal with illness is highly dependent on their social and economic status.
MINDS has a three phase program to eliminate stigma and provide cost effective mental health care to rural areas of the Vadodara district:
- Phase 1: Community Education
- Phase 2: Counseling & Treatment
- Phase 3: Reintegration via Community Mental Health Workers
A total of 32 local villages have been reached. Please refer to the official MINDS Foundation website for more details regarding program activities and research. http://www.mindsfoundation.org/
The rural population in Gujarat is particularly vulnerable due to their economic status, cultural diversity, and the influence of India’s unique caste-based social structure.
India’s rapidly growing economy means that this population is facing new health challenges, including a rise in drug and alcohol addiction. Despite Gujarat’s status as “dry state” bootleggers smuggle daru , or alcohol, from bordering states where the manufacture, sale, storage, and consumption of alcohol is legal. “Country liquor” or desi daru is an indigenous alcoholic drink produced by locals illegally. It is highly popular among Gujarat’s village population.
In order to ensure the sustainability of past success as well as meet new challenges, MINDS has updated its program goals & strategies.In the 2014-2015 year, the MINDS Foundation finished its 4 year original pilot program and has decided to revamp their programs and shift its focus towards prevention through community education and awareness. MINDS is committed to improving program efficiency to maximize impact within the rural population.
In addition, we have formed exciting new community partnerships ( this will be discussed in future posts) to help improve the mental health of Gujarat’s people.