Shant Manas conducted one week training program on Community mental health work for students of Shenbagam nursing program. More than Twenty students participated in the program and they were trained by Shant Manas social workers. Training program focused on theory and practice. The students had class room teaching on various mental health issues, treatment methods, therapies etc. They also visited various Shant manas service users’ home and interacted with service users, carers and their families.
Shant Manas Service users and Social workers visited Kuruvithurai and Anaipatti temple located near Solavanthan. More than 20 service users participated in the group tour. Service users found this trip relaxing and enjoyable as they have limited access to move out of their villages. Service users mixed with others well and supported each other. Shant Manas decided to take service users for outing once in 2 months. This group is supported by Mr. John Campbell. So it is called as ‘Campbell’s group’.
Pablo’s group meets at Shant Manas office once in every three weeks. Pablo’s Group is a meeting for service users and their care takers . It is focused on boosting the self-confidence and social skills of service users. Twenty people participated in this week’s group meeting. The service users were assisted by Shant Manas Social workers and Social work student volunteers. The service users participated in the group activities which created situations to mix with others. They did simple yoga postures and breathing exercises. All of them sang and few danced at the end of the meeting. They expressed their willingness to attend the meeting regularly and to continue supporting each other for their well-being.
Shant Manas social workers conducted Mental Awareness Programs to the villagers of Keelamathur, Achampathu, Kamatchipuram and Melakkal. The access to mental health care is limited and stigma is attached to mental illness in rural areas. These mental health programs aimed to deliver information about symptoms and treatment methods of mental illness. The importance of early detection and family support in the recovery from mental illness was stressed. The villagers eagerly participated in the awareness program. Shant Manas social workers identified few new cases of mental illness as they conducted these mental health awareness programs.
Friends of Shant Manas Priya, Lavanya and Metha demonstrated activity based learning methods for teachers and students of keelamathur school. The students were so enthusiastic during the session. They actively participated in group activities and supported each other to solve puzzles and to build new words. The teachers were interested in learning the procedures of learning modules. The session was well conducted by Priya who enjoys working with children. Shant Manas social workers Bhuvana and Vignesh assisted the group activities of children. Priya, Lavanya and Metha donated group learning materials to the school by the end of the session. Shant Manas Team appreciates Priya, Lavanya and Metha for their valuable contribution to the school children.
Pappathi, 28 years old woman lives in Thuvariman village. She is married and has two children aged 7 and 4 years respectively. She took treatment for depression from Shant Manas seven years ago. Her mental health improved as she continued treatment. She moved to her husband’s village with her children and she continued to live well and to carry all responsibilities of her house.
Before two months ago, she had symptoms of relapse. She heard voices and isolated herself from others. Her husband had difficulties in managing her. She took her to some spiritual healers, but it didn’t improve her mental health. Finally Pappathi moved to her mother’s home at Thuvariman. Her husband also moved with her carrying their children. The whole family got affected because of Pappathi’s mental health issue.
Pappathi’s brother Karuppu approached Shant Manas for mental health treatment for his sister Pappathi as soon as she reached Thuvariman. Shant Manas social worker visited Pappathi’s home and assessed her mental health state and interacted with her husband and family. Her husband worried about her mental health state. He said Pappathi used to be very hardworking and responsible lady. Now she talks to herself and shows no interest in interacting and neglects herself.
Shant Manas social worker referred Pappathi to a Psychiatrist and she was prescribed with Antipsychotic medicines. The social worker visited the Pappathi ‘s home and counseled her in every two days. The social worker was able to involve family members in the treatment process and to bring their support towards Pappathi’s recovery. After one month of treatment, Pappathi’s mental health has improved. Now she interacts with her family and looks after her children well.
When people with mental health problems are supported by their family and health worker during difficult times, they will overcome their difficult times very quickly. It is our responsibility to care for our fellow human beings.
Academic Services Coordinator
Tamilarasan, a 22 year-old-boy lives with his mom in Kamatchipuram village near Madurai. He lost his father seven years ago. His mom worked very hard in the agricultural field as a labourer to grow up Tamilarasan and his younger sister. He finished his schooling and he joined a college in Madurai for his higher studies. In the meantime, his sister quit her education and went on to work in a cotton mill to support her family.
Unfortunately, Tamilarasan developed mental illness three years ago after finishing his first year in the college. As a result, he discontinued his education. His family took him to many spiritual healers for treatment of his mental health condition. But his condition didn’t get better and his family spent a lot of money in faith healing. He became socially withdrawn and stopped interacting with others. He started to roam around even during night. He also stopped looking after himself. Sometimes he was aggressive towards his mom.
Tamilarasan’s mom had severe difficulties in managing him without any psychiatric help for the past three years. She and her daughter had to work hard to manage daily expenses of their family and to feed Tamilarasan.
Shant Manas social workers identified Tamilarasan through mental health awareness programme in Kamatchipuram village. Mental health assessment was done to Tamilarasan by Shant Manas social workers at his home with involving his mom. Later, Shant Manas Psychiatrist visited Tamilarasan’s home and met him and his mom. He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, a severe mental health disorder. A care plan was developed by Shant Manas team to treat Tamilarasan which included regular visits to his home, talking therapy, family intervention and medication. Tamilarasan has been taking treatment for the past three months with Shant Manas and he has started to respond which is a good news. Now he comes out of his home and interacts with his neighbours. He helps his mom in performing simple tasks at home. He attends Pablo’s group meeting at Shant Manas office regularly which gives him an opportunity to mix and interact with people who have similar mental health conditions. Hopefully, Tamilarasan’s mental health will get well soon and he will either continue his education or go for an employment. Credit must go to his mother and sister and his village community for supporting him when he was unwell.
One of Shant Manas service user Mrs.Rekha w/o.Kameswaran
Rekha is a female aged 30, married, living in Achampathu village has one son aged 13 years living in our catchment areas has getting well from Chronic Schizophrenia after a lot of efforts taken by ShantManas. She married her maternal uncle. But unfortunately her husband, who was mentally ill 3 years ago is not willing to take treatment, is now relapsed severely and admitted in the care center.
He is an alcoholic and drug user. Rekha doesn’t even know how to manage herself. When her husband was with her he was suspecting her and not allowed her to open the doors and windows. All the time she was inside the small house. Now her insight is good, she is under anti-psychotic medicines. ShantManas is taking maximum efforts to rehabilitate Rekha by giving activities, motivating her to involve in the domestic work, encouraging her to improve her communication with the society.
Now ShantManas is trying to socialize her in all the aspects. Now her husband is in the care center, her son is in the school hostel and her younger brother is mentally challenged with psychosis is admitted in the care center. Her parents are not taking care of her. Only her brother-in-law who is living in the upstairs of her house is supporting her morally and financially. Her grandpa cum father–in-law is living with her. ShantManas is monitoring her mental health treatment and helping her to get good mental health.
Shantmanas is supporting her by providing free medicines and offering moral supportive counseling. Her life was very miserable when she came to Shant Manas, but now she is well improved and has good self motivation. She is waiting for her son when he will come for his summer vacation. She always remembers her husband, she is missing her husband. She was tearful when she remembers her husband. However, ShantManas had a strong hope that she will recover with her life soon.
ShantManas is playing a major role in supporting her with constant reviews & monitoring along with timely mediaction.
The following is the life story of Gopi- one of Shant Manas’ service user:
Mr.Gopi, aged 35, has been living in Melamathur village, Madurai with his father and sisters and a brother. He lost his mother when he was a child. As his family was in poverty, he was not fortunate enough to do his schooling. Instead he started going to daily wage work as a responsible first child of the family. His financial contribution to his family helped to satisfy the basic needs of his siblings. As he was a hard working man, he could develop his skills and he could run a welding shop on his own at the age of 22. Then he got married and gifted with a baby girl.
Life was going well to Gopi. Slowly his family and his friends noticed the change in his behaviour. The man who had been very friendly started isolating himself from others and started talking to himself and laughing to himself. His day-to-day activities were affected and he stopped going to work. Sometimes he behaved aggressively towards his family members. Apparently his wife left him with her daughter as she was unable to cope with his behavior.
Gopi’s family did not have any clue of what was happening with him. As per their neighbours’ advice he was taken to many faith healers and finally he was kept in a Dharha, a place where people with mental health are kept traditionally. He was chained to a tree in Dharha as he was bit aggressive. His family decided to bring him back home from Dharha as his mental health condition did not improve. This was the time Shant Manas workers were doing ground work to identify people with mental health problems in villages. Gopi was identified by Shant Manas team.
Gopi’s mental health condition was assessed by a Psychiatrist and Community Mental Health Social Workers from ShantManas. He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, a severe mental disorder which needs a long term treatment. He got anti-psychotic medicines, free of cost and a lot of support through home treatment. SM team involved his family members in the treatment by Psycho-education which played a significant role in his recovery. He was encouraged to talk and his stories were listened by SM workers. He responded well in few weeks time after receiving rehabilitation services from SM. He has been with SM home treatment services for the past 5 years. Now his self care has improved remarkably and he is capable of generating reasonable income by doing coconut weaving job at his home and he enjoys good relationship with his family and SM team. The view of the community and his own family towards Gopi has changed in recent years due to his recovery from illness. Gopi’s rehabilitation process continues and his life continues…
When a person with mental health problems is treated with love, kindness and respect, he/she is no longer mentally ill.
Author: S A Vigneshwaran
Clinical Services Co-Ordinator
Shant Manas India Trust
Placement student activities in SM during their Training…
SM recruits at least 5 social workers every quarter.