23 June 2015

Mental health volunteering in India

TVolunteering in Indiawo AWP doctors based in Swindon have been mental health volunteering in India, running free psychiatric clinics in the most deprived areas of the country.

Dr Tina Malhotra (Consultant Psychiatrist) and her husband Dr Sanjay Kumar (Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience and trained Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist) have been organising psychiatric clinics in India, which has no mental health service, since 2006.

This year they organised the Gaway Psychiatric Clinic in Bihar, covering a catchment area of 4 districts with a total population of around 5 million people. Prior to the clinic, volunteers advertised information to local communities by distributing leaflets, displaying posters and advertising in newspapers.

Approximately 60 individuals were evaluated at the clinic and presented with a range of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia; mood disorders, OCD, depression, anxiety disorders, autism, and learning disabilities. The clinic focused on appropriate diagnosis, pharmacological management of problems and brief counselling.

Dr Malhotra and Dr Kumar are raising awareness of mental health issues and reducing the associated stigma. This has resulted in a change in the pattern of patient profiles, with more women coming forward to seek help this year.

Dr Malhotra and Dr Kumar would like to thank colleagues and friends for their generous support and encouragement, with which they are able to support medicines for 8 patients for one year.

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