Community based mental health

World Mental Health Day (10 October) is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries. This day, each October thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to Mental Illness and its major effects on peoples’ life worldwide. In some countries this day is part of the larger Mental Illness Awareness Week.

This year World Mental Health Day 2014 will centre on the theme

‘Living with Schizophrenia’

The terms schizophrenia was coined by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleulerin 1911. Bleuler was also the first to describe the symptoms as “positive” or “negative”.
The word schizophrenia comes from the Greek roots schizo (split) andphrene (mind) to describe the fragmented thinking of people with the disorder.

Famous people believed to have schizophrenia include writer Philip K Dick, Beach Boy Brian Wilson, Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett and Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the sixteenth President of the US.

Mental Illness has been shrouded in stigma, ignorance and superstition since a long time in India. Instead of offering help to the mentally ill, most of us treat them with suspicion, ignorance or cold-hearted apathy. Mental Illness is rising at epidemic rates around the world, including India. WHO predicts that 20% of India’s population will suffer from some form of mental illness by the year 2020. We are woefully under-equipped to handle mental health issues on such a large scale. Currently, we have only 3,500 psychiatrists for the 20 million Indians suffering from mental illness. This means that there is one psychiatrist for more than ten thousand people; which is not even a proverbial drop in the ocean.

Awareness meeting on mental illness


Slowly but surely awareness regarding mental health issues is rising along with acceptance of mental health professionals. A greater number of people are willing to reach out to a mental health professional for a myriad range of problems – ranging from psychosis to emotional disturbances and life- adjustment issues. Medical advancements over the years ensure that the best treatment options are available to the mentally ill. The revised mental health bill has also been presented this year to the Rajya Sabha. This bill has much-awaited revisions with the aim of engendering a greater sense of dignity, rights and assistance to the mentally ill of our country. Many organizations have taken over the mantle of spreading awareness about mental health all over the country. That being said, there is a lot that needs to be done.

Keeping in mind the paucity of trained mental health professionals, the need of the hour is for all our resources to come together. We need a dual approach that encompasses preventive and curative aspects of mental health and the only way to achieve this is through a partnership of the private and public sector. NGO’s, mental health professionals and the government need to join hands in reaching out the community and making a difference right from the grass-root level. Besides spreading awareness and reducing stigma associated with mental illness, we also need to focus on expanding the reach of mental health services to those who need them. The only way of making this happen is to take responsibility and do our bit, together.

10th October is observed as World Mental Health day by the WHO, with the aim of spreading awareness about mental health issues all over the world. The theme for this year is ‘Living with Schizophrenia”. Schizophrenia affects around 26 million people across the world and is the focus of World Mental Health Day this year.
Despite being a treatable disorder, more than 50% of people with schizophrenia cannot access adequate treatment, and 90% of people with untreated schizophrenia live in the developing world.

We want to ensure that people with schizophrenia get the best possible care and support to manage their illness and to help them recover.

ObjectiveAchievementsProjected AreaTargeted Population
Prevantion of mental ill health and to identify PLWMI to ensure regular treatment.
    • 120 PLWMI Treated
    • 167 Awareness Meeting Organized in FP level
    • 76 Advocacy, done in Panchayat Level
    • Vocational Training provided to 40 PLWMI families

10 GPs (safa, Garudagaon, Kanheipur, Salagaon, Nakhara, Kusupur, Kundi, Harianta, Vatimunda, Kayalpada) of Cuttack District.

412 PLWMI & One Lakh General Population

Schizophrenia affects how a person thinks, feels, and acts but it’s actually a word that describes a number of symptoms that psychiatry has labelled a disorder. Not everyone with schizophrenia has the same symptoms and the definition of the disorder is wide, including a number of combinations of different things.
Schizophrenia may make it hard for people to judge reality and key features of early psychosis include:

• Sleep disturbance
• Appetite disturbance
• Marked unusual behavior
• Feelings that are flat or seem inconsistent to others
• Speech that is difficult to follow
• Marked preoccupation with unusual ideas
• Ideas of reference – thinking unrelated things have a special meaning, ie people on television talking to you
• Persistent feelings of unreality
• Changes in the way things appear, sound or smell.

Schizophrenia can occur in anyone but it’s a treatable disorder. Long term medication may be necessary for some people but talking therapies and self-help groups can also be effective.
The longer an illness is left untreated, the greater the disruption to the person’s ability to study, works, make friends and interact comfortably with others. A combination of treatments is best for individuals with schizophrenia. Medication is the mainstay of treatment. Used to minimize hallucinations, help the individual think more clearly, focus on reality and sleep better. We hope to increase both awareness and sensitivity about person and the difficulties they face. The one thing we seem to lack as a community today is empathy. This World Mental Health Day, let us just take some time out; to think, to feel and most importantly – to care.

We can keep following tips to help people with schizophrenia.

1. The closest family member or friend should speak-up and be an advocate for the person with schizophrenia
Ensure ongoing compliance with treatment, especially when released from inpatient care
Offer strong emotional encouragement and support for continuing treatment
Know how to respond to bizarre statements or beliefs
Keep a record
Help the person set attainable, simple goals in his or her life