Project “Shifa” (the Community Mental Health Project):

 

Project ‘Shifa’, the Community Mental Health (CMH) project at Padhar Hospital is a project designed to screen, identify and facilitate treatment and community re-integration of patients with mental illnesses and epilepsy in a specified target area of 75 poverty-stricken villages within a radius of approximately 30 km around Padhar Hospital. It is currently running on a limited budget financed entirely by personal donations from well-wishers. The team consists of the consultant psychiatrist, a project office coordinator, ten community field workers and nursing students posted in the department of psychiatry on rotation.

 

The project activities include:

 

  • Building awareness of mental health issues and epilepsy in the target community

  • Door-to-door screening by field workers using a specially designed screening tool, the Padhar Community Mental Health Screening Instrument (PaCoMSI)

  • Weekly outreach clinics (on Wednesdays) by the team including the consultant psychiatrist in selected village settings (including house visits when needed)

  • Provision of free medications on site for patients with severe mental illnesses (eg. Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, severe depression etc) and epilepsy

  • Referral of patients with less severe mental health issues (eg. milder depression, anxiety disorders, substance dependence etc) to Padhar hospital for more pharmacological and/or psychotherapeutic interventions or consultations with other departments

  • Group Therapy sessions for selected patients and families in the community setting

  • Fostering community re-integration of patients and their families in the field

  • Facilitating practical community-based research to improve methodology of rural mental health service provision

A mechanism to follow up patients receiving medications in the field on a regular basis at their homes (twice a month).

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