Nursing students training program

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Shenbagam school of nusing students do chart presentation on community mental health work
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Shenbagam nursing students interacting with a service user during Home visit

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.

Campbell’s group

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Shant Manas service users visit Kuruvithurai temple with Shant Manas Social workers
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Shant Manas service users and social workers at Anaippati

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

 

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Service users participating in group activities in the Pablo’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.

Mental Health Awareness Program

 

Shant Manas Social worker Bhuvaneswari addressing villagers with her mental health talk

 

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.

 

Tamilarasan’s story

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.

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Tamilarasan interacting with             Shant Manas Psychiatrist Dr.C.Vasudevan in his village

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.

Rekha – Shantmanas Service User

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.

Service-user-rekha-with-CVHe 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.

Finally, after a prolonged illness she started recovering with a hope to live with her family.Servicee user Rekha's home

ShantManas is playing a major role in supporting her with constant reviews & monitoring along with timely mediaction.

Gopi – Shantmanas Service User

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.Kidugus made by Gopi

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 with Dr CV

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…

Gopi making Kidugu

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

Shantmanas Outcome

Seasons Greetings to all! Here’s a brief update from Shant Manas……

Dear Shant Manas (SM) Team

Shantmanas Meeting

As another good year comes to an end for SM, we have seen a modest growth in its work. Our catchment population has increased to around 35k as we prepare to take our work to new villages. The year had seen the arrival of a new social worker to bolster the team and ease the case load of others. We have had valuable assistance, in the form of teaching and training, from mental health practitioners (UK) who volunteered their time and service, free of cost, for SM! And we have had great support from other visitors too.

service users of Shantmanas

Our MSW student placement programme has seen another successful year. The interest amongst colleges to have their students placed with SM has grown with college Faculties grasping the tremendous opportunities to be had, for their students, in experiential and observational learning, especially in the areas of holistic mental and social health assessment, home treatment and rehabilitation. Another crucial factor for the attractiveness of this student placement programme has come from the positive feedback from previous students who had completed such placements with SM. These two factors combined have helped establish SM as a valuable PG student placement resource for several colleges affiliated to Madurai University. (Some interest in OT student placements from the UK too!).

Our service users , and their wider community, have also given positive feedback about the benefits that they have received from our free service through the year. (Mind, no suicides, no admissions, no incidents, and some are in paid work too!) We have been welcomed into new villages. This, I believe, is an open testament to the high regard and trust that the community holds for the work of SM. And that, in turn, is a true reflection of the wonderful professional commitment, dedication and hard work of the entire SM team. Congratulations to all of you.

A Service User with Chronic Leprosy

All this success, of course, does bring new challenges for us – as individuals and as an organisation. We need to continue to work hard in order to maintain the trust and confidence of the people whom we serve in the community. Our work load will increase as we take on new villages. Our students and Faculties have high expectations of us. A particularly big challenge remains on the funding front. SM is rich in commitment and strong in purpose. However, it needs to raise funds urgently to bolster its resources which, I am confident, we will in 2011.

You have always asked what you could do for SM, and not the other way around! Thank you very much. And special thanks to our supporters in UK too.

Looking forward to New Year 2011 to continue the good work.

Wishing you all good wishes & grateful appreciation,

Dr C Vasudevan

Chairman, SM