lay persons as partners in mental health management.
From ages there is carryover of deep rooted stigma about mental illness. Numerous myths and misconceptions have been inherited from generations in respect of persons diagnosed with mental illness. Want of medical services and related infrastructure adds to the misery of affected families. Till1997 in Pune professional treatment was the only treatment available for persons with mental illness. Schizophrenia Awareness Association (SAA) was established as a Public Charitable Trust in 1998 for increasing number of families who were in need of a solution to their problems.
Though in the beginning the major focus area of Schizophrenia Awareness Association was people suffering from schizophrenia. Three major areas of focus of SAA are:
- Creating public awareness about mental disorders using various media,
- Empowering afflicted families through training, SHSG, talks of experts and formal training.
- Networking with other similar NGOs at the national and international levels for exchange of information, for creating a common platform for advocacy and for capacity building.
Support group activities
Our Self–help support group, named after Ekalavya, which is the backbone of Schizophrenia Awareness Association(SAA) activities inspires and urges members to pursue the path of self–reliance and self–help despite odds. SHSGs, as complimentary health services, are well established in the West. However India, already short of mental health professionals, can benefit enormously by establishing more and more self–help group.
Additional advantages to patients:
Attending meetings of an SHSG regularly has the following benefits:
- Meets the need for socialization.
- Breaks isolation.
- Provides emotional support.
- Helps to take charge of their lives.
- Helps to cope with their mental illness.
- Empowers them to help others like themselves.
The caretakers benefit from the group in terms of support, compassion and empathy shown by other members. They also receive information and can learn skills of dealing with a family member diagnosed of mental disorder. Persons with mental illness are benefited by development of insight about their own illness and by learning skills of coping with day to day problems.
SAA has organized numerous public awareness programs and lectures, of local, national and international experts. SAA regularly organizes programs on the occasion of World mental Health Day, 10th October and Schizophrenia Day on May 24th. SAA has produced a movie – “Devrai” which narrates story of a person suffering from mental illness. SAA publishes newsletter and has published several books on mental illness and its management.
Day care activities
For persons who are unable to do any meaningful activity like perusing education or holding a job can join our day care centre. Here they not only get a safe place to spend their time but through regular participation improve their skills of socialization, communication, concentration and self confidence. We believe that this centre will act as a stepping stone for the participating members.
Since its inceptions Schizophrenia Awareness Association has provided solace to growing number of families. “Why don’t we come to know about SAA earlier, we would have benefited much” is a common comment reminds SAA volunteers the importance of their work and motivates them further for taking SAA philosophy and method to growing number of families.
Address of SAA Office:
Schizophrenia Awareness Association
Kamalini Kruti Bhavan,
14 Ganesh Nagar, Hissa No. 19/1–2
Dhayari Road, Near Jairaj Garden
Dhayari, Pune 411 041, India.
Ph no: +91 20 64700920/24391202
Saturday meeting for caregivers and persons with mental illness
Kamala Nehru Hospital –4th Floor,
Pune – 411011