Bringing the Invisible victims to the forefront – Launch of The Centre for Mental Health and Inclusive Development Supported by The Hans Foundation

 

 

The Hans Foundation and Banyan launched the Centre for Mental Health and Inclusive Development Supported by The Hans Foundation. The Centre for Mental Health and Inclusive Development is being supported through an endowment grant of $2 million ( 15 crores) by The HANS Foundation to The Banyan. The endowment ceremony took place 9th of December 2018, at Chennai. The event saw discussions among diverse stakeholders on the theme of fostering alliance to bolster mental health care in India and social inclusion of people with mental health issues and illness.The objective of this initiative is to create Inclusive Living Options for Persons with Mental Health Issues for whom hospitalisation is no longer beneficial and exit options are not available. It will work on social inclusion of people with mental illness by enabling transitions out of psychiatric hospitals to supported and independent community living options that offer graded levels of support. Through this, the Centre will also work on reorienting the paradigm of care in these facilities to offer user-centred and rights-oriented services.

 

Home Again offers people with mental illness with long-term needs the unconditional opportunity, with no requirements of community readiness, to live in a home, either back with their family or in a formed family of peers from similar circumstances, with the option of an onsite personal assistant to assist in diverse domains of living from caring for self, finding jobs, use of transport, socialisation support to pursuit of leisure in ways that service users desire. Multisite evaluation of Home Again in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam reveals that this approach offers significant community integration gains – people transitioned from a sick role of a parent in a hospital to taking charge of their households, forming relationships, casting their vote in elections and even being invited as chief guests at local community events. It offers these gains at a fraction of what it costs for life-long stay in an acute care facility. Operationalised using a quasi-experimental design, the housing with supportive services approach was piloted and translated to scale up with the support of Grand Challenges Canada (GCC). GCC is funded by the Government of Canada and is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact in global health Home Again is offered in three variants:

 

  • Reintegration with Families: People with mental illness are supported to journey back to their families and communities of choice. Clustered Group Homes: For some with people with mental illness with histories of homelessness, return to family is not an option.
  • Clustered group homes co-located with facilities that allow for community interface such as the academic sister organisation The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM) are offered as an option in such instances.
  • Housing with supportive services: Where people with persistent mental illness across a spectrum of low- to high-support needs prefer to transition to shared homes in rural, peri-urban and urban neighbourhoods and renew their definition of what home can be alongside personalised supportive services.

 

As part of this objective, of ensuring that people are not languishing in psychiatric hospitals THF is also involved in a “ Study on National Strategy For Inclusive and Community Based Living For Persons With Mental Health Services”. Under, this as a task force has been set up with the aim of unifying efforts and to evolve a long term sustainable strategy for de-institutionalisation at the State and National level. The study will cover 44 Mental Hospitals spread across the country and will study patients who have been in the facility for more than one year.

 

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