Dr. Sashi Panja, State Minister for Health and Family Welfare, will inaugurate a two-day national conclave on community mental health on Saturday. The conclave has been organized by NGO Anjali. It may be mentioned that the state Health department, along with Anjali, had set up a dhobi ghar, a state-of-the-art laundry, at Pavlov hospital to help those who are fully cured but continue to stay at the hospital after being deserted by their relatives to become economically self-reliant.
In its studies, the World Health Organization has predicted that after cancer, diabetes and coronary artery disease, mental health problems will afflict almost 25-30 per cent of the Indian population by 2025. Mental health disorders, quietly and not so quietly, affect nearly five per cent of the Indian population; going by most conservative estimates, over 50 million people live with a mental illness.
Nearly half of the people with severe mental disorders are never fully cured, and of those with less severe illnesses, nearly 9 in 10, go completely untreated.
The two-day conclave will feature some of the most eminent thinkers and practitioners in the mental health space, who will seek a way forward with medical and community-driven solutions to the complex challenges mental health problems present in everyday life.
There is no aspect of personal or professional life that does not get impacted by mental health and vice-versa. The motive of the conclave is to build a firm knowledge base on community mental health, such that the lapse in services is bridged.Through this effort, Anjali hopes to advocate the value and need for mental health services, borne from and by communities in themselves. State and central governments will be approached to incorporate findings from the conclave into the already existing government district mental health programmes.
Throughout India, there are several individuals and organisations working tirelessly to establish community mental health as a solution itself to the gaping discrimination in treatment of mental problems and lack of services.
Anjali has brought these people and organisations together to look at the ways this can be established. Some of these organisations include NIMHANS Bangalore, Basic Needs India Bangalore, The Banyan Chennai, Sangath Goa, Bapu Trust Pune, Mental Health Action Trust Calicut, Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, and Ekjut Orissa.
Donor organisations that work specifically in the area of disability will be present too, such as The Hans Foundation, Human Capabilities Foundation, The Oak Foundation, and Arrow.