Resource Centre

Over the years, certain activities at the fringe of Ashadeep’s core areas had emerged as essential services for various stakeholders in the field of mental health. These activities were streamlined under the aegis of a ‘Resource Centre’ in 2009 and included Sensitization; Orientation & Training; Research & Documentation and Advocacy on issues of mental health. Publications consist of a Training Manual On Mental Health, books named ‘Hidden in Full View’ and ‘Asthalat Suryaday’(Assamese) along with pamphlets, posters and hoardings on mental health.

The activities of the resource centre have gradually expanded to different geographical areas and various stakeholder groups. In the current year, training programmes on Mental Health have been undertaken for Police Personnel in Kamrup (metro), Doctors at Sipajhar and Boko block, Anganwadi Workers at ICDS Headquarters in Guwahati, and College Students from various parts of the country.

Promotion of ‘innovative practices’ in service provision and advocacy in Mental Health has been a key feature of the Resource Centre. In 2012, a Seven Day Workshop for College Students on “Developing Communication Tools for Awareness Generation on Mental Health” was organized. The resource persons included acclaimed photographer Sudharak Olwe, and filmmaker Sunzu Bachyapattim and the themes consisted of Public Service Announcements, Audio Clippings, Photography, and Poster Making. Thirty one students from eighteen different colleges and universities participated in the seven day workshop. A total of seventy three entries in photography, film-making, poster, and audio clipping were received through symposiums held in different universities and colleges of the state, and ten in each category were selected for the workshop.

Collaboration for concerted efforts and creation of more players in mental health is another objective of the Resource Centre. A project titled ‘Development of Community Resources for promoting Mental Health Care in the North Eastern Region’ supported by North East Network, Guwahati was carried out during the period December’2006 to November’2007. Through this exercise a training manual –‘Working with mental health in the Community’, a resource book to help Care-Givers other than mental health professionals in providing services to persons with mental illness was developed. Pamphlets and posters in five languages viz. English, Assamese, Bodo, Bengali and Khasi were developed to create awareness. Participants for this initiative included six organizations – the ant (Bongaigaon), SATRA (Sipajhar), Prerona (Jorhat) and Deshabandhu Club (Silchar), all from Assam; Bethany Society (Shillong), Meghalaya and Swabalamban (Agartala), Tripura who were provided with training and other support to initiate service facilities for rehabilitation of persons with mental illness.

In addition a number of research studies and reports were carried out:

  • Baseline survey report on Strengthening and Expanding Interventions for Persons with mental disorders in the North East Region, Phase –III. The Baseline study was carried out by Assam Don Bosco University in the year 2014.
  • Comparative Analysis on Pre and Post Reintegration Status of Women with Mental Illness rehabilitated at Navachetana by Ms Lita Hazarika (Practicing Psychologist, Guest Faculty at Guwahati University and Assam Don Bosco University).
  • Knowledge and Attitude of Patients and Caregivers towards Mental Illness as Determinants of their Treatment Adherence; A Comparative Study by Ms Sandamita Choudhury and Ms Snigdha Ghosh
  • Psychosocial burden of parents of mentally challenged children with special reference to Ashadeep Day Rehabilitation centre by Ms. Videesha Bordoloi.

The advocacy efforts of Ashadeep

One of the focus area of Ashadeep is to facilitate Collaborative Approach towards mental health through advocacy among various government & non-government agencies, corporates, civil society bodies, and the public. Some of the landmark achievements are

  • Adoption and implementation of Standard Operating Procedure by the Government of Assam for Rehabilitation of Homeless person with Mental Illness in the year 2014.
  • Implementation of Community Mental Health Program(CMHP) in Darrang, Kamrup(Rural) and Morigaon Districts of Assam in order to improve ways of improving mental health services in Assam was another landmark achievement in Assam’s mental health scenario . The Additional Chief Secretary of Dept of Health & Family Welfare, Goverment of Assam issued written directive to Joint Directors, Health Services in Morigaon and Darrang district to allow doctors, nurses and ASHAs for training on Mental Health under CMHP, arrangements for review of persons with mental illness at local health centres, and provision of medicines at the local health centre.
  • Initiative of the social welfare department to provide infrastructure and funds to replicate the model of Homeless women through Navachetana project to intervene with homeless men in similar condition after a survey conducted by Ashadeep to ascertain the details of homeless persons with mental illnesses wandering on the streets of Guwhati under the directives of State Social Welfare Department revealed that 90% of such persons were men and only 10% were women . A finding , which underlines the positive outcome of the efforts of Ashadeep in rehabilitating homeless women with mental illnesses of the city.