In this episode of Mano Charchae, RJ Padma is in conversation with Dr. Janardhan, who speaks about community-based rehabilitation for people with Mental Illnesses.
Firstly, many people wonder if mental illness is a kind of disability. Doctors say yes, indeed a few mental conditions are categorised as a disability. Generally, ‘disability’ is understood to be something that affects the body, which is why mental illnesses are referred to as Mental Disabilities. These conditions are the ones due to which people find it hard to work and/or involve themselves in any kind of financially productive work, and to build interpersonal relationships.
The World Health Organisation once developed a model on how to identify and treat people with Mental Illness. Across five years, this plan was implemented in Bellary. ASHA workers, doctors, and Anganwadi workers were trained, following which they were supposed to identify and provide treatment to people with Mental Illness. Today, in many districts of Karnataka, this protocol has been implemented but the fact is that many of them don’t have the requisite awareness on the treatment available for mental health. Which is why, many of the patients are forced to approach NIMHANS in Bengaluru, or to go to Dharwad for treatment.
Dr. Janardhan mentions that at the Zilla Panchayat-level, there is treatment provision available and that people should take advantage of that more often. Talking about community rehabilitation, she says that the Government has been providing other types of treatment as well, like identifying a patient and providing treatment at the community level itself, making sure that the person is taken care of by their family or any professional in the community, like ASHA workers.
Instead of opening community centers, it is better that work happen at the community side itself. Community-based treatment and rehabilitation have shown higher rates of recovery.
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