Community Mental Health Program

Community Mental Health Program

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Mental health is a growing concern today; an estimated 1% of the total country’s population (10 million approx.) suffers from some form of mental illness. In Karnataka, over 50 lakh people with mental illness (PWMI) and mental retardation are supported by less than 700 healthcare professionals, doctors and social workers.

Lack of awareness and limited access to mental health care coupled with social stigma makes reaching out to people with mental illness a tougher task. In economically backward social groups, both urban and rural, people with mental illness are subject to neglect, isolation, abuse and traditional forms of treatment – all of which have a negative impact on them.

APD’s Community Mental Health Programme has been operational since 2004. In the last 10 years, we have reached out to almost 2000 people with mental illness through targeted activities like identification, providing access to mental health care and social & economic rehabilitation.

Starting with 19 slums in Bangalore, the programme now covers specific taluks of Kolar, Davangere, Chikkaballapur and Bijapur.

Our Objective

Social integration and economic rehabilitation of people with mental illnesses while increasing acceptance and knowledge about mental health among communities.

Road Map

  1. Identification: A survey conducted over a 4-5 month period will assess and identify people with mental illness who will form the baseline workgroup for the project. APD expects to identify at least 1000 people from this survey who will benefit from the mental health programme.
  2. Access to mental health care: The identified people will be directed to health care authorities to access treatment. This is a complex process that involves creating a social acceptance of their condition and a willingness to approach health care specialists, breaking barriers of stigma and traditional healing practices. APD’s team will rigorously follow up and keep records on each case, ensuring that people with mental illness can access regular care and receive necessary medication.
  3. Capacity building: A key component of the community program is building a capacity among communities and government agencies. APD will create social awareness through street plays, exhibitions, wall writing, posters and handbills. Further, caregivers and parents will be encouraged to form groups and APD will facilitate monthly meetings, providing them a forum for discussion on common issues. Two 3-day residential camps for people with mental illnesses and their carers will be organized to help reinforce inputs on mental illness, rehabilitation and advocacy.
  4. Rehabilitation: The process of social integration and rehabilitation involves creating acceptance among family and community groups through regular orientation and counselling. APD will attempt to ensure livelihood opportunities for people with mental illnesses whose condition stabilizes after treatment.

    People with mental illnesses from rural communities will be provided assistance in procuring MNREGA cards that will enable them to seek employment. We estimate that up to 300-350 people with mental illnesses can be rehabilitated through sustained effort over a period of time, while others requiring continued mental health care will be able to access treatment and counselling services without any difficulty.

This road map is being actively followed in two taluks of Davangere and Harapanahalli in Davangere district.

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