Taking conversations about mental health to the mainstream

Deepika Padukone, actor and founder of The Live Love Laugh Foundation, interacting with Accredited Social Health Activists in Davangere district earlier this week.  

Sangameshwar, a 50-year-old resident of Jagalur taluk, has been suffering from a mental disorder for nine years. He was neglected by locals and many relatives, and though his brother Vidyadhar took him for treatment in Davangere, Shivamogga, Dharwad and Bengaluru, there seemed to be no hope of recovery.

It was at that point that the Association of People with Disability (APD), with sponsoring from The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF), came to his aid by providing counselling and treatment. For nine months now, Mr. Sangameshar has been taking tablets regularly and his condition has improved considerably. Mr. Vidyadhar says the foundation came into their lives as a ray of hope.

Basamma, another resident of the same taluk, says her husband Rudresh used to behave abnormally and it was difficult for her family members to control him. APD members approached the family and convinced them about the treatment they could facilitate. They conducted counselling regularly and now, after six months of sustained efforts, Mr. Rudresh is well on the recovery path.

More than 1,200 patients have been identified in six taluks of Davangere and other districts in the State by TLLLF through APD. They aim to help people suffering from mental stigma and provide them free medicines and counselling, enabling them to lead a normal life.

The foundation conducts programmes such as ‘You Are Not Alone’ for schoolchildren, through which it is said to have created awareness about depression among 40,000 or so children in different States; ‘Together Against Depression’, a sensitisation programme on mental health for general physicians; and ‘Dobara Poocho’, a public awareness campaign on mental health.

Deepika’s visit

Earlier this week, actor and TLLLF founder Deepika Padukone visited a few people suffering from mental disorders with the aim of helping provide them suitable treatment with the help of an expert team of doctors and counsellors. She said she had suffered depression about two years ago and it took her several months to recover from the stigma associated with it. “Afterwards, I decided to reach out to the lakhs of people suffering from depression owing to various reasons,” she told The Hindu.

She said the objective is to strengthen the existing infrastructure and ensure that quality treatment is accessible to the community.

Through an exhaustive survey, the APD identified individuals suffering from mental disorders. Individuals and families were given access to mental healthcare treatment at primary health centres and district hospitals, she said. “The APD team continually monitors the patients through software that captures details of treatment and tracks the progress and needs of the patients,” Ms. Padukone said.

On her future plans, she said she wants to involve more NGOs to reach out to a greater number of people.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2021 8:09:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/taking-conversations-about-mental-health-to-the-mainstream/article19841130.ece

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