Community Outreach

SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMME

The term “School Mental Health Programme” in recent years has taken on a much broader meaning with an increasing emphasis on the host of possibilities Athma Hospitals and Research provides for clinicians, teachers, administrators, students, families, and community members to collaborate in promoting the overall well-being of all students.

It is a well-established fact that today’s students have been experiencing troubles in many different sources from changing lifestyles, different occupational choices, rising expectations from parents, teachers, the media, friends, and models of social relationships.

Even those children who attend school regularly are not free from stress and pressure. Our weak system of education is to be primarily blamed for this sorry state of affairs. Learning is devoid of interest. The monotony of their studies is not broken by the fun and frolic associated with childhood.

Dr. Swarnarekha Bhat (Head of the Department of St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore) hits the nail on its head with this very prudent remark, “there has been an observable change in the lifestyle of children who now face multiple demands, many of which cut into their sleep time. There is this pressure of studies, the long travel time to school, and the influence of their parents’ lifestyle and routine, all of which inevitably impact them”. 

They do not get the maximum amount of sleep that is conducive to good health. They even go to the extent of watching TV and playing video games, when they ought to be sleeping.

A normal, healthy, right-thinking brain is a priceless treasure. It is the only essential lynchpin that holds together all mental and physical processes that goes into the making of a standard, rational-thinking human being. The working of the human mind is still subject to mind-blowing, awe-inspiring, credulity-defying, and ever-fascinating research.

To sum up let us consider this insightful observation of Dr. Daniel.L.Schater, Chairman of Havard University’s Psychology Department and internationally recognized as one of the world’s authorities on memory- “Memories both good and bad of the past, present and incredibly of the future too, are elements of the bridge across time which allow linking the mind with the world.”

The mental health of the children should be protected, which will contribute to the nation’s development. To improve the mental health of children and adolescents by reaching out to the community and intervening at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels, Athma Hospitals organize at least 100 school mental health programmes and workshops a year.

Teen suicide is a universal disaster. 9-15% of suicides happen during the exam period, especially after results. Killing one’s self seems to be the only way out to save themselves from the miseries that they find themselves in. Hence, every year pre and post examinations, we are conducting awareness programs related to exam fear/anxiety and suicide prevention through mass media and pamphlets.

COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS PROGRAMME

As you all know, any service concerning mental health will not be successful unless you reach out to the community. In rural areas of Tamilnadu, many villagers still believe mental illness is caused by evil spirits and karma of past life. So-called traditional healing, conducted by priests, can include chaining up the mentally ill, chanting spells, poking them with pins, or beating them “to force the spirits out.”

“There’s little awareness that it’s a real illness, and most people think it’s all a figment of your imagination,” said Dr. Indira Sharma, Varanasi-based president of the Indian Psychiatric Society. There’s still a profound stigma. With a population of 1.2 billion people, India has only 4,000 psychiatrists, compared with 100,000 in the U.S., about 4,500 in California alone.

There is a hug treatment gap in India. Only 15% of people with psychiatric problems seek medical help. 

“Stigma towards, and discrimination against, people with mental disorders is an essential barrier to mental health service utilization in India. It contributes to delays in seeking care, impedes timely diagnosis and treatment for mental disorders, serves as an impediment to recovery and rehabilitation, and ultimately reduces the opportunity for fuller participation in life. All these issues prevent those with mental illness from addressing their problems personally or seeking help professionally. 

Reaching the unreached and Road to Recovery are our goal and these goals are set to increase the community’s knowledge of the available programs and services offered and also it advocates & networks available services that are provided by the government. This is accomplished by informing the general public through various activities.

An average of more than 150 awareness programmes is organized in various capacities. We partner with NGOs, panchayats & government agencies, DMHP, Puthu vaazhvu project, etc. to sensitize public

COMMUNITY CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAMMES

Community Capacity building is a conceptual approach to development that focuses on understanding the obstacles that inhibit people, government officials, and non-governmental organizations from realizing their developmental goals while enhancing the abilities that will allow them to achieve measurable and sustainable results. We organize capacity building training programs at all the level of government staffs, teaching, and non-teaching professionals, and non-governmental organization’s teams.

STRESS MANAGEMENT TRAINING TO INDUSTRIAL WORKERS

The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2011-“Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can make a contribution to her or his community. Stress is the main factor of all psychological issues in industrial settings. So ARF has planned to conduct free stress management programmes for industrial workers. As of our plans, we organize free stress management programmes to industrial workers in the Tiruchirappalli block. Psychologists and other mental health professionals handle all the programmes. Many micro and macro organizations have benefitted, and needy clients are referred to our partner hospital for expert management.

Overall we are proud to have touched the lives of at least three million populations.