Psychiatric disorders cause considerable burden on individuals, families and societies causing a great deal of suffering. Human, social and financial resources are needed to provide access to effective and humane treatment for people with these disorders.
Mehac works by establishing local partnerships with Panchayats (local governing bodies at the village level), other NGOS, Health Services, Medical Colleges and long term care homes. The local partners own the programme with an active role in planning and implementation of the service. Since it started in 2008, Mehac provided care to nearly 2000 patients and their families.
Currently having units in four districts in Kerala, Mehac has been able to create a space for mental health at the grass roots level, demonstrate examples of public-private-NGO partnerships, take a proactive role in advocacy and awareness issues and enable preventive care, treatment and rehabilitation.
“Mental illness still remains the most stigmatised and neglected area in health care. Families are shattered and isolated,” said Chitra Venkateswaran, Mehac. “There is a person centred philosophy both in mental health and palliative care; which is compassion and aiming at little but important things that mean a lot to everyone.
“Palliative care should be inclusive to all; and there should be a change from a single minded focus on cure to a more adaptive approach in mental health care.”