Providing knowledge and skills to the mentally challenged is a huge task. A PG degree course makes you ready for the mission

Mental disorders contribute significantly to the global disease burden and the way to reduce this burden is by changing the way we deal with illnesses at the social, clinical and economic levels. While the clinical aspect of mental illnesses is well managed in India with the presence of many healthcare professionals in the area, the social aspect is yet to develop to the required level, say experts. It is in managing this social challenge that counsellors and rehabilitation personnel, who are experts in psychosocial rehabilitation, play a great role.

“Taking medication for a mental illness is just half the job done, we need to change the social environment for such patients and their families to cope with the disease. The aim is to re-integrate them into the community,” explains Nivedita S., lecturer, The Richmond Fellowship Post-Graduate College for Psychosocial Rehabilitation, Bangalore branch.

Team approach

It is a team approach involving a psychiatrist, social worker, psychologist, nurses and rehabilitation professionals, that can eventually bring the patient back to as much normalcy as possible. Sreedhar Murthy, another faculty at the college, says that psychosocial rehabilitation is all about initiating a recovery process using interventions, occupation therapy, vocational training, etc., to make a patient's life more functional. “Psychosocial rehabilitation is the care given to persons with mental disorders in the form of knowledge and skills to help them achieve their optimum level of social and psychological functioning. It helps in exploring and developing social, occupational, leisure and living skills which will assist them in living as independently as possible in the community and preparing them for securing jobs,” he said.

There is a dearth of trained professionals to offer these services to the mentally challenged, says Ms. Nivedita. “Our college is attempting to create professionals in this field, as the demand for such experts is set to grow in the future.” And at a time when people have become more open about acknowledging and disclosing mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, etc., there is more opportunity for rehabilitation experts to intervene and assist individuals in their recovery, she said.

Those trained in psychosocial rehabilitation can offer their services in halfway homes, longstay homes, as counsellors in the industry, government/State mental hospitals, and institutes of mental health, and in employee research and the like.

The course

The two-year postgraduate degree offers students a balanced theoretical and practical exposure. They work with the patients who are treated at The Richmond Fellowship Society's day care centre, halfway home and group centre.

Since the teachers double as those who also address the patients in the various centres, the practical exposure is a lot more for students. And they can be easily mentored as well.

The course has an intake of 15 students per year, and students from any educational background can take it up. Those interested need to submit an online application form. After scrutiny of this form, selected candidates will be called for a written exam and personal interview.

The other criteria for admission are as per the guidelines given by the Rajiv Gandhi University for Health Sciences. The basic course fee is Rs. 75,000 per year which can be paid in two instalments.

The college also offers two short-term three-month certificate programmes in psychosocial rehabilitation and counselling.

For details, visit: