Mental Health Day: Weekly programs in Pune to create awareness about the need to increase services



Rima (45) is known to take lifelong medication to treat schizophrenia. The rehabilitation center in Pune was her second home for nine years and when she met her aging parents in Mumbai, she did not want to return home. “I worked in a bakery set up by the center and also learned knitting and sewing. I can get a great job,” says Reema.

Disha (29) (name changed) has been suffering from mental illness since she was 16 years old. Disha’s condition worsened when the girl was nine years old when her parents died and her uncle’s family forced her to become a drug addict. Psychological disorders elevated her overall condition and she was soon admitted to a rehab center. “I feel better now and have passed the Class X exams. I will be appearing for the Class XII exams soon and would like to help with the work of the center,” he says.

Representative of a psychiatric community rehabilitation center in Pune for people with various mental disorders, owns an in-house bakery and teaches its more than 75 inmates embroidery, cookie, fabric painting, thea painting and lamp making. “Many are interested in recovering and finding employment. Like Rima, most people are aware of their situation and all they need is the approval and support of the community,” said Susupti Sathe, director of the center.

The theme of World Mental Health Day on October 10 is ‘Mental Health in an Unbalanced World’. At the event, Pratibha and the Regional Psychiatric Hospital in Yerawada will host a virtual dance competition for people with various mental disorders. Chad said a two-day exhibition will be held on October 30 and 31 at Hotel Lakshman Rehabilitation Center on Prabhat Road to showcase the artwork created by the residents.

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“Initially there was a lack of awareness. We had to deal with the stigma if patients sought psychiatric care. Psychiatric community interventions focus on both pharmacological management and providing lucrative employment for our residents,” he reiterated. Now working, they make synthetic jewelry or work in hotels.The hospital has organized a week-long program of observance of coward-appropriate behavior.

The Department of Psychiatry, BJ Medical College, Pune and the Maharashtra Institute of Psychiatry (MIMH) have organized a week-long program highlighting the need to increase mental health services. Dr. Nitin Abhiwanth, Associate Professor of Psychology, PJMC, plans a human chain on Saturday to raise awareness about mental health among MIMH students and staff.

Dr. Sapna Bunker, a psychiatrist and head of the Empower-Center, says there are only three psychiatrists and fewer psychologists for every million people. Add to this an epidemic and its impact on the mental health of individuals of all ages and social strata. “We need to identify the general public and primary health care workers who are suffering from mental health problems in the right direction and provide them with sensitive skills,” he said.


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