Community Mental Health Program, CAMP Dausa, Rajasthan

An initiative by Manas Foundation in collaboration National Mental Health Program supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Dausa is a small district in Rajasthan famous for its proximity to the Mehendipur Balaji temple. Large numbers of devotees come here seeking relief from their ailments through the traditional faith healing practiced at the temple.

The program was established with a goal of raising awareness and making mental health services accessible. With this in mind, we launched our program in June 2018, and began working in coordination with three major departments in the district

  • District Mental Health Program (DMHP) and the District Hospital
  • Chief Medical Health Officer (CMHO)
  • Chief District Education Officer (CDEO)

Our program activities are conducted in collaboration with these departments run in different locations throughout the district. The main program activities are:

  • Direct psychological services through the CAMP Dausa mental health unit (MHU), district hospital (DH), schools, primary healthcare centres (PHCs) and community health care centres (CHCs).
  • Mental health awareness generation programs.
  • Building capacities of the community.

Services of Our Programme

Services at District Hospital & DMHP

  • Our psychologists are available every day in DH to provide direct counseling services to patients referred by doctors in the facility and psychological assessment services when necessary.

Services with CMHO

  • We conduct regular mental health awareness and sensitization workshops at PHCs & CHCs. Our team of psychologists holds OPD once a week at these centres where they provide psychiatric and psychological services.
  • Being a frontline worker, ASHA & ANMs are being trained to provide barefoot counseling to individuals through our training workshops.
  • Our psychologists are available alongside their medical counterparts in camps organised with National Urban Health Mission.

Services with CDEO

  • Our psychologist provides weekly visits to schools to provide counseling services to students.
  • Mental health awareness workshops are conducted in schools of Dausa.
  • Learning modules are conducted on comprehension, memory, attention & concentration and motivation in each class of schools.

Services at MHU

  • Direct psychological services at MHU are provided by our team of psychologists.
  • Individual awareness activities and sticker drives are conducted in local hotspots and remote areas of the district.

Journey so far..

2018

We launched this program with an understanding of the community’s requirements which made our service delivery prompt and effective. The first year was about establishing rapport and understanding the needs of the community at a deeper level. We came to understand the psyche of people of this region, where traditional healing practices are considered as important as medical treatments. Our goal was to provide a program that promoted mental wellbeing without offending local sensibilities.

This year we began with training frontline workers, sensitizing minds in areas where the services are inaccessible, raising awareness among children and providing psychological services to the community.

2019

As we moved into our second year, we learned and adapted to the unique requirements at Dausa. This resulted in a supportive partnership with all the local authorities, and our services gradually came to be preferred and recommended. Our MHU was initiated in the second year of CAMP Dausa. One challenge we faced was the patients’ preference of pharmacological interventions over psychotherapeutic intervention, which often resulted in low numbers of patient intakes.

In 2019, we were able to reach more PHCs & CHCs as well as we were able to form a partnership with NUHM which was a huge success. Our psychological services were available at all the departments and people showed interest in our work during our awareness activities in Dausa.

2020

We always began our new year overcoming the challenges of last year and modifying our program to cater to the emerging needs of the community. But in the year 2020, the world was hit by the pandemic, and everything came to a standstill. The first few months were challenging as all work became virtual.

We quickly adapted to this new normal. Our team at CAMP Dausa showed courage and dedication by providing continuous services through our program in the community.

It was a rocky year, but it did not stop us from providing our services. We implemented a program to support ASHAs & ANMs. Our screening program of students was praised by the Education Department. We raised more awareness through NUHM camps, knowing the community needed intensive mental health support during this difficult period. We incorporated psychiatric services at MHU.

In retrospect, this year was nothing less than a mental health epidemic. We learnt that mental health awareness was more needed than ever. We continued on our battle and provided services to the infected patients.

CAMP, Dausa COVID-19 Response
526 tele-counseling to COVID infected patients
96 Support calls to frontline workers i.e. ASHAS & ANMs
COVID sensitization was the element of all our workshops in PHCs, CHCs and Schools
Our team was continuously raised awareness and fought misinformation the whole year
Ongoing research studies:
1.     A study of long-term mental health outcomes among people infected with Corona virus 6-12 months ago.
2.     Case control study comparing mental health status of people with and without Corona virus in Dausa.
3.     Belief systems and socio-cultural correlates of persons visiting Mehendipur Balaji temple, Rajasthan: A mental health perspective.

Read more about Research at Manas

Future directions:

We will continue to provide our services in the district while working together with various local departments. We strive towards understanding the changing environment and enhancing our services that are most accepted and suitable to the needs of the people. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with the Health and Education department. By the end of 2020, we established contact with Mehandipur Balaji temple. We hope to understand the beliefs of the devotees coming to the place and raising awareness of our available services while respecting the sanctity of the temple, and the faith of the devotees. This will be a part of our larger mental health intervention program at Mehendipur Balaji, which is being planned for 2021 in collaboration with the NMHP and CMO Office.

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