Center for Mental Health, Law & Policy
The rural areas are always the ones that remain in the dark when it comes to awareness about mental health issues. Vulnerable groups such as women and children suffer even more. Accesses to mental health facilities are very scarce and also expensive. All these factors led to the initiation of project “Atmiyata‟.
Atmiyata is a community led, low cost, high impact intervention, focusing on common mental health issues. It was implemented in 41 villages in Peint/Peth block of the Nashik district in Maharasthra, catering to a population of approximately 14000 adults. It promotes awareness regarding mental health issues in the community, facilitates access to mental health care and utilizes community resources to create support networks. We use videos uploaded on smartphones to train leaders of existing community groups as community mobilizers to promote well-being, detect cases of mental illness and apply referral and follow-up techniques.
Scalability and Impact:
We are hoping to scale up to a population of 1 million individuals in the district of Mehsana in Gujarat. We are looking funds for scale up and we are in discussion with few funders. The plan is to scale up this innovation to 500 villages in the district. Hence, for implementing the project in Mehsana, 900 – 1000 community volunteers and 12 – 15 supervisors would be involved and trained. The project will need three years for an implementation and evaluation. The mobile application will be updated such that all data collection and monitoring can be done and tracked in real time. The training manuals will be prepared and translated in Gujarati, which will then be used by trainers/social workers to further train the champions.
Awards and Recognition:
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada conducted a health equity impact assessment for „Atmiyata‟. The report revealed that our work benefits beyond the target population, shows improved family environment and greater engagement with technology.