1. Research at BALM is currently ongoing in 4 research studies:
a) The impact of the Disability Allowance of The Banyan on ‘re-integrated clients’ and their families in and around Chennai.
b) Interlinkages between mental health and employment: A case study of socio-economically disadvantaged outpatient clients of The Banyan.
c) ‘Self-help groups as alternative Models of Rehabilitation of homeless women with Mental Health Issues – a case study of SHGs formed by the Banyan.’
d) Continued work has been done on the ‘Study of rehabilitated ex-residents of The Banyan in South India’.
2. National Consultation on National Mental Health Programme: BALM along with The Banyan participated at the National Consultation on National Mental Health Programme convened by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GOI, on January 22, ’10 at New Delhi.
It was a high level meeting with leading academicians, mental health experts, practitioners, Govt officials and a few civil society organisations from across the country.
The Agenda included:
i) Opening remarks by the Secretary, Health & Family Welfare.
ii) Implementation of the Mental Health Act, 1987
iii) Central Mental Health Authority /State Mental Health Authority
v) District Mental Health Programme (DMHP)
vi) Roles of NGOs /Voluntary organizations
Minutes: From its field level experience in all aspects of mental health, The Banyan and BALM provided inputs and shared their experiences on ground level realities in delivery of mental health services. They enabled the consultative group to focus on issues pertaining to:
i) ‘homelessness,’ in the implementation of the Mental Health Act, about the process of admission and exit from institutions.
ii) ‘institutional care and violation of human rights in mental health institutions and the deplorable conditions of patients therein.
iii) lack of manpower and to include more social scientists, social workers in mental health service delivery.
The Banyan and BALM will be involved in the review of the Mental Health Act lead by the Institute of Law, Pune.
3. Shelter Home for homeless women in Delhi: BALM participated at a meeting on January 29th on initiating a shelter home for homeless women in Delhi. The meeting was convened by ‘Jagori,’ a leading women’s organisation working towards inclusive participation and people’s empowerment for respect of rights of all people including women.
The agenda of the meeting was to discuss:
i) the transit care home for homeless women in Delhi, place, no of women etc, staff
ii) overall activities to be executed and organizations executing the activities
iii) lead organization
iv) funding / roll out plan etc
i) The proposed ‘transit care centre,’ would house around 50 -100 women and provide holistic and integrated services of counselling, health interventions, educational opportunities, livelihood training and options and rehabilitation.
ii) YWCA came forward to offer the place from where the Transit Home would be run. This was good as they have a well established infra structure and staff and have also been involved in running several skill development programmes for women
iii) It was proposed that ‘shaktishalini’ would be the lead NGO in coordination and running this Transit care home as they have experience in working in similar areas
iv) BALM would provide mental health interventions
v) Several other organizations like ‘aman biradari,’ ‘jagori,’ and ‘shakti shalini,’ would provide their expertise in their areas of work.
The next meeting has been scheduled for Feb 26th at YWCA from 2:00–5:00 pm and BALM will be participating.
4) Volunteers at The Banyan & BALM in January 2010 were:
Aditi continues her work at the CMHP and is conducting weekly workshops with women in Kovalam to work with their life stories as narratives.
Bernadett from Italy has come to The Banyan as part of a two-month learning experience programme of her school. She started her work with assisting the team in setting up the new café.
BALM is thankful to the volunteers for their time and expertise to The Banyan and BALM.