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Caregiver centric approach to rehabilitation of families of persons with mental illness

Updated: Feb 16

A report on talk by Aman Batish, member SMHA Haryana & Co-Founder Manas Mitra @ 3rd Annual Conference of Haryana IAPP


Aman Batish, Co-Founder Manas Mitra and Member, State Mental Health Authority, Haryana was provided an opportunity to present a talk on ‘Caregiver centric approach to rehabilitation of families of persons with mental illness (PMIs)’ at the 3rd Annual Conference of Haryana chapter of Indian Association of Private Psychiatry (IAPP) held at Kasauli on 11th February 14, 2024.

Around 80 psychiatrists (private practitioners) from Haryana and office bearers of the national level parent body of IAPP participated in this event.

The talk highlighted the efforts of the NGO Manas Mitra in propagating and providing solutions to the problems of ‘family carers’/ caregivers of PMIs by adopting a caregiver-centric approach to rehabilitation. An outline for a proposed Assisted Living Community based project for family carers of PMIs at Karnal, Haryana was also presented during the talk.

The talk was well received and several psychiatrists expressed interest in this approach and projects based on it. Some of the participants specifically enquired about the proposed project at Karnal and expressed willingness in connecting prospective beneficiaries (families of PMIs) with Manas Mitra to be a part of the project.

The key points of the talk are shared below:

1. About Manas Mitra: An NGO of, for and by family carers and working to help, support and assist family carers of PMIs in solving their common problems related to rehabilitation.

2.  Which common problems?

a. Who will take care of PMI after the demise of family carers?

b. What happens when the family carers get old?

c. How will assets created by family carers used for the benefit of PMI after their demise?

d. How can family carers be provided respite from caregiving?

e. The entire family needs rehabilitation (not just the PMI)

3.  Why ‘caregiver-centric’ approach to rehabilitation?

a. A patient-centric approach can work in managing acute phase of mental illness

b. A caregiver-centric approach will work better for long term rehabilitation (of family as a unit)

c. Caregivers across all domains of mental illness have common concerns which can be commonly addressed

4.  The stumbling blocks in solving these problems:

a. Lack of resource (skilled manpower/material)

b. Lack of family-based rehabilitation facilities

c. Lack of ‘home-like’ environment in facilities

d. General lack of awareness about MIs in society

e. Lack of trust towards professional/ paid care (perceived & real unprofessionalism)

f.  Lack of ‘self-help groups’ & disconnect between family carers

5.  The Solution: Community based Assisted Living (group housing) for families of PMIs

a. Proposed 1 Acre project at Karnal, Haryana with 56 residential units (Studio & 1BHK)

b. All the above problems and stumbling blocks can be effectively dealt with, example:

  • Resource sharing is possible to deal with resource crunch problem

  • Resource sharing also leads to cost effectiveness

  • Trust deficit issues of caregivers can be resolved as they can supervise the paid carers/ professionals collectively

  • Mechanism for care of PMIs after demise of family carers

c. Practical problems of routine caregiving can be resolved, example:

  • Mess/dining facility for those families who cannot cook

  • Guest house facility for those who cannot entertain guests at their home

  • Geriatric care & limited medical care

  • Spiritual Center -spiritual counselling/ meditation to improve inner strength for coping with stress

  • Community Center -space for socializing with peers & events/workshops

  • Counselling & therapy for PMIs and family carers

  • Hobby classes/ activities for productive engagement for PMIs and family carers

We at Manas Mitra are thankful to Dr. Manish Bathla for arranging the talk and providing a great opportunity to interact and share the ideas, vision and solutions proposed by us with leading private psychiatrists of Haryana. It was truly a fruitful experience and will hopefully open up avenues for cooperation, tie-ups and collaborations between family carers & mental health professionals in future.

We are confident that such efforts will go a long way in resolving the practical problems related to caregiving and rehabilitation faced by family carers of PMIs with chronic and debilitating mental illness.

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