CBR and Mental Health, Blind People’s Association, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad, IN
About Bharat Rajendra
The author is associated with BPA as Program Manager: Mental Health and CBR. He is a social worker with eight years of post-qualifying experience in disabilities, advocacy, mental health and unaccompanied minors (asylum seekers), human rights and community based rehabilitation.
He was awarded Erasmus Mundus European Scholarship for M.A. in Human Rights Practice and the United Kingdom General Social Care Council International Recognition.
In 2004, a Mental Health Pilot Project was implemented in Gujarat State, India, for the rehabilitation of persons with mental disorders in community settings, along the lines of the CBR model. The state government, in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Embassy, selected the Blind People’s Association (BPA) to design and implement the programme. Working closely with NGOs and local communities, this private-public partnership established referral links with government hospitals to provide medicines and counselling to affected persons. At the end of 18 months, 1206 people (diagnosed with schizophrenia, mania, depression and epilepsy) had accessed psychiatric services on a regular basis, and 272 people had recovered and resumed their earlier occupations. As a result of the pilot project, it may be concluded that rehabilitation of people with mental illness is possible outside of hospital settings.