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Creating awareness,
defeating depression and killing suicide


On the occasion of World Mental Health day, a rally was organised by Chaitanya Mental Health Care Centre along with Sahyog Trust. The purpose of the rally was to spread awareness about mental health and to inform people that mental illness is like any other illness. To spread the message was Shreyas Talpade of Iqbal fame.

The term ‘mental illness’ often conjures up images of an insane person, incapable of thinking for himself and being treated in a mental hospital. But did you know that mental illness is a broad term and includes illness from minor depression to serious disorders like schizophrenia, psychotic depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)? A dictionary meaning of mental illness is health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.

The stress of modern life has led to more and more people falling prey to the most common type of mental illness known as depression. According to Mr. Hemant Chandorkar, psychiatrist in Chaitanya Mental Health Care Hospital, the number of people suffering from mental illness alone in India is 3 crores. A study conducted by the U.S. Task Force revealed that depression will be the second largest cause of morbidity (loss of quality of life) by 2015.

Shreyas Talpade
Shreyas Talpade,

"Mental disorder is fast becoming the most common form of illness and it is not just the adults who are suffering from it, depression is rising even amongst children. So somewhere we need to spread the message. Even if one person out of the 2000 people who attended the rally can receive the message, it will make a difference."


Asim Sarode,

"There is a striking similarity in the architecture of a prison and a mental hospital and in many case they are located close to each other. There is a need to adopt a different approach to curing mental illness. The concept of Pscho-Social rehabilitation home needs to be accepted to help a person regain confidence and start living a normal life. Shock treatment which is common in mental hospitals needs to be banned as it is only a temporary solution."

Hemant Chandorkar, psychiatrist

"My message to all those people whose relatives are suffering from any mental disorder is that you are the care- givers and should understand mental illness. There is nothing wrong with taking medical help."

Chaitanya mental health care centre is a rehabilitation home with a capacity of more than 160. It is based on the concept of “psycho-social rehabilitation” which emphasises the need to integrate a person in the society. “It is like a half way home where we help a person integrate himself with the society by teaching him social skills, interpersonal and communication skills,” says Mr. Chandorkar.

Due to stress of modern life, many people succumb to it and become mentally disabled. In many psychiatric hospitals, the patients are confined for a long period of time. The practice has been continuing since the colonial era.  According to Mr. Sarode, rehabilitaion programmes should be designed with a clear objective of reintegrating a person in the society, rather than keeping the patients just ‘occuped’ for the sake of it. A mental health institution should concentrate on enhancing life skills of a person.

          Certain issues that need to be addressed in psychiatric hospitals and nursing homes

  • Hygiene is hardly maintained in such places and care should be taken for the same
  • Patients should be provided with clean clothes
  • A patient’s privacy should be protected and respected
  • A patient should not be subjected to solitary confinement
  • A patient should have access to the latest and modern means of medical treatment
  • Emphasis should be on teaching a patient life skills to help him/her integrate in the society
  • Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT) or shock treatment to control a patient’s behaviour should be avoided as it is a gross violation of his/her human rights
  • Appropriate remuneration should be given to  patients for work done by them during rehabilitation period