Altruist- The Power of Selfless Support
Mental Health is an integral part of human well-being and therefore there is no health without mental healthiness. We as a couple realized this only when the illness entered into our family without knocking on the door. My brother in law started suffering from Schizophrenia. His mental disorder was not so easy to understand. We, like many other people, took religious help, and contacted all the various people whom we thought could help us. But finally the Psychiatrist came to our rescue and we understood the mental illness. We have been taking care of him for the past 23 years. It is not an easy task. Over a period of time, we realized that, like us, many families must be going through similar problems. This led us to establish our organization called “ALTRUIST”.
Altruist has been working in the field of Mental Health since 2007. ‘Dava & Dua program’ of the Government of Gujarat, and Altruist, have been a pathway for mental health professionals to reach out to the needy who come in search of a cure for mental disorders at religious places. It has become a role model for the country, and Dava & Dua has also been replicated at Erwadi Dargah in the State of Tamilnadu.
The ‘Aadhaar program’ has been yet another effort of reaching out to those suffering from mental disorders in the city of Ahmedabad and Vadodara. Collaboration between the Department of Health & Family Welfare, the Government of Gujarat and Ahmedabad and Vadodara Police, have helped rescue vulnerable people, helping them with security, care, treatment and finding their whereabouts and reintegrating them with their families.
In collaboration with the Hospital for Mental Health – Ahmedabad, Altruist has initiated innovative pilot programs for providing occupational training to cured mentally ill persons for their social and occupational integration within the society, thus helping them to sustain themselves.
We have started a unique project called Parivartan which is a Day Care Center. Here we provide pre-vocational training and group activities to enable the recovered patients to reintegrate themselves with society. We also counsel the family members of the patient on how to manage them so that a relapse can be avoided.
A café (Parivartan Café) has recently been started outside the premises of the Hospital for Mental Health, Ahmedabad. Here the recovered patients work and interact with the general public in terms of taking orders, serving etc. They will also be trained to cook and manage accounts, so that they are capable of handling this café independently. This initiative will help them regain their confidence. Also, they will be remunerated which again brings back their self-esteem.
Some of Altruist’s preventive and promotive steps in mental health:
• Family counselling
• School Teacher orientation programs for Children and Adolescents
• Training and sensitization programs of Police Personnel
• Occupational Training for cured mentally ill persons
• Facilitation of Disability benefits for Mentally ill persons through the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment
• Free Ambulatory services to those suffering from mental disorders
• Facilitation of medical treatment at Hospitals for mental health for those suffering from mental disorders
Altruist as an Organization has pledged itself to facilitate support, care and treatment, social, family and occupational reintegration to those suffering from various mental disorders.
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