For The Banyan, the term rehabilitation refers to the process of a client reclaiming his or her own body, mind, spirit and interpersonal relationships in order to have the ability choose their own future. People who make a recovery from homelessness and mental illness make different choices about their future course of life - some want to go back to their families, some may have resistant families, no families to go back to or may not want to go back to their families and therefore seek employment and others require long term support due to age or profound physical or mental illness.

The Banyan facilitates these choices through the following initiatives.

Vocational Training

When clients reach a level at which they are ready to engage in productive activity they are introduced to the vocational training unit. The aim of training is to impart vocational skills to the clients that prepare them for a contributory role in the family and community. Vocational skills are taught by professional skills instructors, who assess the skills and interests of each resident and build the training programme based on the individual. Some of the favourite courses of The Banyan's residents are tailoring, weaving, block printing, embroidery, beautician's course and cooking.

Vocational training is encouraged for all clients of The Banyan - those from Adaikalam, The Day Care Centre, The Community Living Project and even out patients of the various clinics.

Employment

Once clients have completed their training, employment is sought to reinforce its benefits. The Banyan helps clients pursue many different employment angles dependant on their personal circumstances.

Many clients find employment within The Banyan and its projects.

  • Residents of Adaikalam are often employed within the facility giving them the financial benefits work within a completely understanding environment. This benefits the running of the facility as well, as the residents will largely repair their own clothing, prepare food for staff and residents, carry out most housekeeping tasks and generate small income by selling their products at the gift shop.
  • Residents also work in the head office of The Banyan.
  • Clients of the Day Care Centre produce items for sale to local people to help to fund the project.
  • Out patients of the clinics work in various roles including helping in the pharmacy and with transportation.

External employment is also facilitated. The roles Banyan clients have secured are diverse to say the least: anything from security to Sari design is possible dependent on individual skills.

  • Many current residents of Adaikalam work in local businesses and homes whilst still living in the facility.
  • The Banyan has partnered with businesses in Chennai to develop innovative employment options in shops, cafes, garment factories, beauty salons and boutiques for all clients.

Reintegration

One part of rehabilitation is the reintegration of the client with the community at large; this may mean with their family and home or it may be into a new environment and supportive surroundings.

For clients of Adaikalam, their reintegration is carefully conducted by a team of social workers. When the time comes that a resident is ready and wants to return, the team makes enquires as to the location of their family and makes contact if possible. If it is a local reintegration, the team may visit or invite the family to see the client and facilitate the reunion this way. If the resident is from a different state then arrangements for a reintegration trip are made and the case worker escorts the resident home... however vague the directions may be!

Part of this reintegration is sensitisation of the family so they can effectively care for the individual so they do not leave home again. Often this means fully educating the family as to the nature of mental illness and the treatment required.

Self-Help Groups and Supported Living

When residents want to live independently of The Banyan, but do not want to return to their families, The Banyan encourages them whole-heartedly. It is essential that as they make these steps on their own that they are thoroughly supported it ensure that they do not suffer from a relapse. To aid this, Banyan residents has formed self-help groups. These are groups of women who sometimes live together, or else meet and support one another outside of The Banyan remit.

Long-Term Care - Community Living

Some residents are unable to return to their families and communities for any one of a wide number of reasons. Once their symptoms have stabilized, there is no need for them to remain in an institutional-like facility like Adaikalam - it is likely that they would be happier with more freedom and independence. The Community Living Project provides just this. The residents of this project live together in small cottages of ten. They produce items for sale in The Banyan outlets and participate in activities such as yoga and gardening.

After spending time at the Community Living Project, some residents are ready to move out into the village community and live together. At this point they join the self-help group and begin a truly independent life with access to The Banyan facilities should they need them.