ASHA workers in Madhya Pradesh have taken over new roles, that of next-door, friendly therapists
Accredited Social Health Activist Workers, or ASHA workers, are India’s frontline rural healthcare workers who are trained to function as a bridge between the community and the public health system.
How does this work?
The Madhya Pradesh government has tied up with Sangath, a non-profit organisation, to train ASHA workers to become the first point of contact for people in mental distress
Over the last two years, 462 trained ASHAs have screened 18,000 people for depression, enrolled up to 2,200 patients for counselling, and delivered over 13,000 sessions of therapy mainly across three districts: Raisen, Vidisha, and Narmadapuram
One of the major challenges for these ASHA workers is to convince those screened to take medical help
Due to lack of awareness, many in the rural areas believe the person is possessed with a spirit and consult the traditional ‘healers’
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Video, report & voiceover: Maitri Porecha
Photos : AM Faruqui
Production : Gayatri Menon