Updated: Aug 11
A report by Aman Batish (Co-founder Manas Mitra)
Manas Mitra organised the 2nd caregivers’ meet-cum-workshop for families of persons with mental disorders on Sunday, 26 March 2023 at Amar Jyoti Special School, Karnal. The event was attended by parents of students of this school and other parents of persons with mental disorders along with representatives/members of other NGOs working in Karnal in this domain.
The objectives of the event were:
Interacting with parents to create awareness about caregivers’ problems and sharing the solutions of these problems
Promoting interaction and association between parents/caregivers, exploring possibility of creating self-help groups of parents
Promoting interaction and association between different organisations/institutions, exploring possibility of collaborations between them
Accordingly, four sessions were planned for the event:
Talk by Dr. J.C. Bathla (Senior Psychiatrist) presenting a psychiatrist’s perspective on problems of caregiving -the focus was on what caregivers should do while providing care to persons with mental disorders and what not to do, the common mistakes and stumbling blocks related to medication and behaviour towards the care receivers.
Talk by Aman Batish (Co-founder Manas Mitra) presenting a caregivers’ perspective on their own problems -the focus was on what the caregivers need for providing better care, the obstacles in meeting these needs (example resource crunch), burden of caregiving and coping strategies and well researched holistic solutions to all these issues. Also, presenting the concepts of parents’ self-help groups/associations and assisted community living and their efficacy in resolving caregiver problems like -resource crunch, what happens when caregivers get old and what after they are no more?
Open-house discussion on parents’/caregivers’ problems -providing an opportunity to caregivers to talk about their specific needs, issues and their expectations from organisations trying to help them.
Session by Dhananjay Kumar aka Dharmaraj Das (Co-founder Manas Mitra) on Stress management using the wisdom from Srimad Bhagavad Gita -the focus was on stress related to caregiving and how spirituality based methods can be used as effective coping strategies by caregivers.
It turned out to be a very fruitful event. Many parents/caregivers attended and enthusiastically participated in the talks/discussions. In addition, Sh. Dinesh Munjal (Chairman Nirmal Jot Divyang Charitable Trust) and Sh. Anil Bandhu Jain (Ex-President Karn Mandbudhi Vikas Samiti) also attended the program along with the staff and special educators from Amar Jyoti Special School, Karnal.
Parents showed willingness to undergo training/courses to mitigate resource crunch -especially those related to occupational therapy and speech therapy. The parents were willing to assist the teachers in providing these therapies to their wards. However, they also expressed a need for more guidance in this matter regarding where and how they can get trained.
Parents wished to be a part of proposed assisted community living type projects and form self help groups -they showed keenness in starting a daycare centre also and through it provide help to each other in cooperative caregiving so that in times of personal need a parent may get relief/break from their caregiving duty to do their personal chores.
Possibility of collaboration between different organisations -the representatives of different organisations explored ways to work together and assist each other in providing services.
Lunch and refreshments were served in between the sessions. There were informal discussions between parents during the breaks also and the parents opened up about the issues faced by them and also made queries about the proposed assisted community living projects. These were helpful in forming a better understanding of their specific local requirements.
The event ended with a vote of thanks by Sister Principal. The participants were satisfied with the discussion outcomes and looked forward to following up on these points. Overall, it was a good event achieving its objectives to a reasonable degree.
Further actionable points for Manas Mitra
Coordinating and arranging for a talk/workshop on occupational therapy/speech therapy training etc. for parents/caregivers by a bonafide resource person.
Facilitating the formation of a self help parent group at Amar Jyoti Special School and being in touch with them.