A basic training programme on community mental health was given to Hand in Hand India’s health mobilisers by The Banyan, a non-governmental organisation in Chennai that rescues homeless women with mental illness and provides them with treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration. About 93 health mobilisers from the districts of Tiruvannamalai and Kancheepuram participated in the training programme.
The health mobilisers were divided into two batches. The first awareness programme was held on 29 February 2010 at the head office of Hand in Hand India in Kancheepuram. 67 health mobilisers attended the first session and 26 the next held on 9 March 2012. The main objective of this capacity-building programme organised by the Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM) was to raise awareness and sensitise the community and non-specialist health-workers on issues pertaining to mental health.
Through skits, discussions and interactive lecture sessions, the participants were made to understand what mental health means and how social, physical and psychological well-being are interlinked. They were also exposed to misconceptions and stigma attached with mental illness. The participants found the sessions relevant and useful at a personal level as well as in the context of the community.
“Now I know where and how one can seek medical help to treat mental illness.”
“I learnt so many things about mental illness. This training will enable me to help people with mental illness. I also realise the importance of seeking professional help in such cases.”
“Apart from treatment, we also understand the importance of social and emotional support for good mental health.”