Kerala

Kudumbashree’s model gender resource centres make strides

K. Surya, counsellor at the Kudumbashree’s Snehitha gender help desk in the district, recalls the strangulation of an infant allegedly by its mother who suffered from depression during COVID-19. “The incident had become a talking point. Tele-counselling sessions organised by Snehitha also saw stressed out pregnant women and those who had given birth reach out for support.”

Snehitha counsellors could well understand what the women were going through because their own experiences during the pandemic were not dissimilar, says Ms. Surya.

This prompted the rollout of ‘For you,’ a special programme to address postpartum depression in the Nanniyode model gender resource centre (GRCs) of the Kudumbashree. ‘For you’ is intended to create awareness among pregnant women and their families of postpartum depression and how to take care of women suffering from the condition.

As part of ‘For you,’ pregnant women in each ward are identified and with the support of other departments, services of clinical psychiatrists and doctors are made available online once a month to address their doubts and queries.

‘For you’ that was piloted in Nanniyode is being extended to the nine remaining GRCs this year. WhatsApp groups of pregnant women in each ward have been formed and an online class by a psychologist has been held for the beneficiaries.

The district has 55 GRCs, of which 10 are model GRCs. Though the model GRCs were launched two years ago, the pandemic limited their operations. Now, their activities are being expanded, courtesy enhanced funding from the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).

About the experience of implementing ‘For you’ in Nanniyode, Ms. Surya says of 15 women they covered, three were found to have symptoms of postpartum depression. While two women required only counselling, one had to be prescribed medicines for her condition.

Against drug abuse

‘Rise up’ is a special initiative in the Nanniyode GRC to check alcohol and drug abuse in the tribal regions and their consequences such as domestic violence, suicides, anti-social activity, and so on. Awareness of the ills of substance abuse, especially among youth, is intended to be created through a series of programmes. This will be followed by data collection. Once those using drugs or other substances are identified, steps will be taken to start them on the path of deaddiction with the support of other departments such as Health, police, Excise, and so on.

Another project that was launched in the tribal belt of Vithura for prevention of adolescent suicides was ‘Bhadratha.’ Bhadratha helped identify students with poor mental health and provide them tele-counselling and individual counselling, if needed. A one-day activity-based camp was held on suicide prevention in the Manithooku settlement there in association with an NGO. As many as 125 people, of whom 83 were children above the age of 10, participated in the programme. Now, Bhadratha is being extended to Aryanad.

Many more initiatives such as self-defence for women and children, geriatric care, and menstrual hygiene are being launched in the model GRCs.


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 10:52:51 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kudumbashrees-model-gender-resource-centres-make-strides/article65728206.ece