Hangout for mental health service users inaugurated

In Namma Area, the users themselves can engage in activities which they find interesting

May 24, 2022 10:07 pm | Updated 10:07 pm IST - CHENNAI

To mark World Schizophrenia Day, Namma Area, a designated hangout space for mental health service users, was inaugurated at the Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) on Tuesday. 

A first-of-its-kind initiative, Namma Area has been conceived in such a way that the service users themselves can take charge of and engage in activities which they find interesting. 

“We have many patients who say they are lonely and feel upset at the lack of social life. Apart from inpatients who are unable to go out, there are patients whose families hesitate to send them out since they have their own concerns. Namma Area will be a comfortable and familiar space where they can meet other people, interact and engage,” said R. Mangala, Assistant Director, Media and Awareness, SCARF. 

At the new space, people can read, relax, watch movies, exercise, listen to music, play games, and can also invite guest speakers. The facility will function on the SCARF premises at Anna Nagar from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and can be used by all mental health service users free of cost. 

“This is a space created for everyone. Anyone should feel welcome and they can use it and it will be a space where people can connect with one another,” said Paul Heritage, Director, People’s Palace Projects UK and Professor of Drama at the Queen Mary University of London, who inaugurated the hangout. 

On the occasion, the M. Sarada Menon award for mental health service users was introduced and awarded to six persons in recognition of their efforts to cope with their challenges and move forward in life. For six caregivers, including friends and family members of persons with Schizophrenia, the Maitri award was given in recognition of their support to persons with mental illnesses.

Among the Maitri awardees was a 14-year-old boy who has been assisting his grandmother in taking care of his uncle and accompanying them for his appointments. Several such stories, about mothers, neighbours and friends who have supported persons with mental illnesses, were shared on the occasion. 

R. Padmavati, Director, SCARF; Mariana Steffen, Arts Project Manager, PIECEs London; and Renata Peppl, Program Manager, PIECEs London, were present. 

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.