Banyan Launches Outreach Programme

9 Feb


Banyan launches outreach programme

By Our Staff Reporter


Film actor and social activist, Vivek Oberoi, interacts with inmates of Banyan during the launch of rural Outreach programme on Tuesday. — Photo: Vino John

CHENNAI,

FEB. 8.

In a bid to reach out to the rural community, the Banyan, a non-governmental organisation, launched an outreach programme today.

The programme envisages a three-pronged model: setting up a public health centre in Kovalakuppam in Kancheepuram district; a resource and training centre for mental health professionals; and offering therapeutic space for women recovering from mental illnesses.

Supriya Sahu, Joint Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, said there were many myths and stigmas attached to mental illness, though it was an easily manageable disorder.

Although the number of psychiatrist in Tamil Nadu was the highest in India, there was still a shortage of psychiatrists in both the public and private sectors in the State.

Mental health programmes were being run in five districts of the State, she said.

The Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu , N. Ram, stressed the creation of social awareness on mental health through the media, pointing to the huge gap in the sector. He described the launch of the outreach programme as a “bold attempt and an outgrowth of the Banyan.” Vivek Oberoi, actor-activist, narrated his experiences in the tsunami-struck areas where people needed psychological help. Commending the Banyan team’s efforts, he suggested that the programme be replicated in other rural areas with the help of the corporate sector.

The Gandhi Peace Prize Winner, 1997, Gerhard Fischer, who is involved in rehabilitating leprosy patients in India, said that mentally ill patients needed support for rehabilitation and not mere sympathy. L. Lakshman, chairman of the Rane Group of Companies, hailed the Banyan’s efforts in helping the distressed.

V. Narayanan, trustee of Chennai Willingdon Corporate Foundation, wanted a plan drawn up to determine the causes of mental illness among poor women and steps taken for early detection of symptoms.

Balraj Vasudevan, managing director of TVS Autolec, handed over land documents to A. Ramakrishnan, editor, Anna Nagar Times, for setting up a public health centre. At present, about 380 inmates are being taken care of by the Banyan.


Hindu On Net

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