RAHAT runs education, awareness and training programmes for various populations with the objective to:
- address mental health issues
- promote mental and emotional well-being
Some of our programs are:
Mind Specialists, an initiative by RAHAT Charitable and Medical Research Trust, is a platform that has been built to create progressive awareness and de-stigmatizing the conversation around Mental Health and Wellness. We believe that the holistic development of the mind, body and soul is significant to achieving a fulfilled, enriched life. Our mandate is to ‘Help You Help Yourself’ achieve this balance by providing people with access, education and guidance in all things related to their mind.
Website – www.mindspecialists.com
Our website, www.mindspecialists.com, is a plethora of information on Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being. The objective of the website is to disseminate accurate information so that it is accessible to people across the world. We provide people with accurate information on Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being through our programs, articles, videos, podcasts as well as give the people free self-assessments for various mental illnesses such as Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Attacks, among others.
Outreach Program – C4MH (Campaign for Mental Health)
Mind Specialists launched its community outreach program called Campaign for Mental Health (C4MH) in 2018, which has been envisioned as a vibrant network of individuals and organizations active in the social, education and health fields. The Campaign aims to create a movement and a lasting impact on the way mental health is perceived in India.
C4MH seeks to initiate dialogues and remove stigma and shame around Mental Health among people by using a multi-media participatory approach. As part of this, the C4MH Team has designed and developed innovative tools and materials for community engagement, creating awareness as well as training and capacity building. The tools developed include traditional floor games (specifically modified games that are advantageous due to the familiarity with the format, ease of understanding, nostalgia due to past experiences and the players’ childhood memories, apart from the fun and entertainment factor), story scrolls (inspired by comics, the bioscope and the traditional Indian storytelling techniques of Katha, Kavad, Phad and Patachitra, all put together) and information cubes (highlighting the salient information of the topic).
In 2018, C4MH conducted trainings for representative of community-based organizations and NGOs (community workers) for building their capacities on issues related to mental health. The topics included Myths around Mental Health, Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Problems among Children. The trained representatives further conducted awareness sessions in their communities.
Post the pilot in 2018, the Campaign moved from strength to strength in the year 2019. With the copyrighted traditional floor games as the primary awareness generation tool, C4MH collaborated with NGOs and academic institutions to take the initiative forward. C4MH 2020 was launched at the Annual National Conference of the Indian Psychiatric Society (ANCIPS) 2020, at Kolkata, India, by Prof. Helen Herman, President, World Psychiatric Association. The training kit, inclusive of traditional floor games, story scrolls and information cubes, which were on display at our stall, was inaugurated by Prof. Dinesh Bhugra, Past President, World Psychiatric Association and by Prof. P.K. Dalal, President, Indian Psychiatric Society.
The Campaign collaborates with like-minded individuals, organizations and institutions by providing them with an intensive training which provides them with an in-depth understanding about mental health-related issues as well as hands-on experience on using the tools developed under the Campaign.
Apart from the outreach program, Mind Specialists produces videos and podcasts on topics encompassing facts around mental health, mental illnesses and emotional well-being in formats such as Vox-Pop, Animation and Piece to Camera. With over 150 videos and podcasts available on more than 20 topics, the media produced is available to the public at large, without any charges, on YouTube and Sound Cloud.
Our presence on social media, primarily on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, reiterates our ideologies towards de-stigmatizing conversations on Mental Health – an attempt to move closer to a more inclusive world. With an ever-growing reach to the audience, the social media platforms, in combination with the website, act as a tool to strengthen our online initiatives. Building a dedicated online community further strengthens and supports the on-ground reach of Mind Specialists.
Translation and Utilization
We are currently working with the WHO for the translation of its Psychological First Aid manual from English to Hindi for facilitating its use with field. This effort is a first of its kind in India since no versions of the manual exist in any Indian language so far. This document will be available to all organizations and government departments for use in crisis interventions.
Psychological first-aid is the first-line psychosocial support to provide basic psychological care in the short-term aftermath of a traumatic event. It is an evidence-informed modular approach used by non-mental health experts, such as responders and volunteers for assisting people in the immediate aftermath of disaster and terrorism to reduce initial distress and to foster short and long-term adaptive functioning.
- Preparation and Production of pamphlets which can be kept at prominent places with the help of establishments (stores, shops, showrooms, computer centers, organizations etc.) to spread awareness on issues of mental health in the general population. These can be distributed in Delhi and satellite towns as well as other select cities around the country. These pamphlets will be produced in English, Hindi and other vernacular languages for rural areas through local enablers and doctors practicing there. The topics to be covered are- Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Psychosomatic illnesses, Schizophrenia, Phobias, Mental Retardation, Epilepsy, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Conduct Disorders in Children, Drug Abuse, Alcohol Addiction, Tobacco Abuse, Internet and Pornography Addiction, Emotional Well-being Strategies etc.
- Create short audio-visual messages on mental health and emotional well-being that can be displayed in public places through
- television networks
- social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
- Documentaries, audio- visuals and pamphlets giving general information and tips for parents, teachers and students on stress, depression, social anxiety, relationship issues, drugs, alcohol and tobacco abuse for schools. These can be used by television networks, social media channels and events to ensure widest community outreach.
- Create audio spots for awareness building on mental health and emotional well-being that can be played on community radio, popular FM radio stations or through Government and non-government organizations at designated places.
- The material produced to be distributed to other organizations working in the field to create a mass movement towards greater awareness on mental health and emotional well-being.
- To continue the thrust on mass community outreach through various media in the form of contribution of articles and audio-visual material on Mental Health and Well-Being through various media platforms.
- To carry out research for combining western medicine with eastern thought for healthy life style and emotional well-being integrating mental health and spirituality.
- To continue providing guidance and referral services on distress and disease for those requiring it.
Some of the activities of the Trust in the past thirty years since its inception have been:
- Production of pamphlets on mental health and illnesses; Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Abuse for students, parents, teachers and the general population. These have been distributed in schools, colleges, hospitals and clinics. The problem areas covered were Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Mental Retardation, Schizophrenia, Affective Disorders, Phobia, Panic Attacks, and Tension Headaches etc. These have also been distributed to patients and families in mental health facilities.
- Dissemination of information to the general public through print and electronic media through written articles and participation in interviews.
- Building action groups at the school level and in the slums to fight the problems of drug abuse.
- Counselling people with mental distress and illnesses and their families (free of cost to the needy) is another activity carried throughout the year with the help of trained mental health professionals.
- Various celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Kapil Dev, Meenakshi Seshadri, Satish Shah, Kadar Khan and Dheeraj Kumar have supported joint programs of Mind Vision Enterprises and RAHAT through public service messages for various programs over the years.
- The RAHAT team, including experts in mental health conducted a two day in house training program in May 2009, ‘Mind Matters’ on recognition of mental health and mental illnesses, stress management and basic counseling skills to spiritual caregivers/practitioners of the Brahmakumaris World Spiritual University Retreat Centre at Manesar, NCR, Delhi.
- RAHAT Charitable Trust and ‘HelpAge India’, a premier level national organization working for the care and cause of the elderly came together to hold bimonthly seminars for the elderly entitled ‘Active Ageing for Healthy Living’. The first seminar on ‘Spirituality – A Panacea for All or need of the elderly?’ was organized on 21st October 2002. The 2nd seminar ‘Staying Younger While Living Longer’ was organized on Thursday, 26th December 2002 at India International Centre. It was inaugurated by Dr. A.K. Walia, Hon. Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Delhi. The third seminar on ‘Nutrition and Fitness’ for the elderly was held on 25th March, 2003 while the fourth seminar in the series focusing on mental health of the elderly, ‘A Healthy Mind for Healthy Ageing’ was organized on Thursday, 3rd July, 2003.
- Psychovision 95, a conference on Mind-Body medicine and Spirituality was held as part of the Perfect Health Mela with RAHAT as a partner organized on 1st November 1995 at Scope Convention Centre, Delhi. It was attended by more than 20 N.G.O.’s, 12 spiritual organizations and others, like school children, general public etc.
- Documentaries on different aspects of stress, mental illnesses and substance abuse were supported by RAHAT and technically collaborated with Mind Vision Enterprises for the television channel, ‘Doordarshan’ from 1995 onwards. The projects were conceived and supported by the RAHAT trustees and team. The trustees as well as the staff volunteers have been involved in reaching out to the general public through various media and answering the letters that were received from the public. The programs where ‘RAHAT’ Trust, its trustees, employees and volunteers helped include :
- ‘Mindwatch‘, a 26 episode series on Mental Health (created in English and later dubbed in Hindi), which was repeatedly telecast on National Television (Doordarshan) with an estimated potential viewership of about 250-300 million in 1996. It has since been archived and dubbed in eight languages and DVD packs of it are now available for educational purposes.
- ‘Khamosh Shatru’ on AIDS (the first ever six part documentary series on AIDS in India for NACO, Ministry of Health, Government of India)
- ‘Better Halves’ on women’s issues and health
- ‘Body-Mind-Soul’ on Holistic Health
- ‘Azadi-Ki-Ore’: 50 years of health in India
Subsequently, the letters received through the Audience Research Cell of Doordarshan were answered individually as well as relevant material was sent by the volunteers of RAHAT. The program also acted as continuing medical education to doctors around the country.
- Organized a seminar entitled ‘Physicians Initiative against Drug Abuse’ which was held in 1993 in New Delhi for doctors with the Delhi Medical Association to create awareness on mental health & substance abuse.
- Organized a ‘Rock Concert’ on 1st October, 1991 in Gyan Bharti School, New Delhi. The students also participated in a poster competition on drug abuse. It was managed by the students of the school for the social cause of ‘Fight Against Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco Abuse’.
- ‘RAHAT’ has been instrumental in bringing about audio material on ‘Stress’, which were distributed free of cost to those needing it.
- RAHAT collaborated with the Richmond Fellowship Society, India, Delhi Branch, to provide assistance in carrying out community outreach program for education, identification and treatment for mental illness in the NCR region.
- Disseminated information to innumerable Internet users through ‘Psychospeak’ through the Internet dialer iolpl.com and the Trust website www.rahat.org , to provide awareness on psychological health and mental illness.
- The World Psychiatric Association recognized the work of RAHAT by involving it as a centre to carry out a study on patients, families and general physicians on ‘Fighting Stigma & Discrimination Because of Schizophrenia – India Initiative’. This was a part of 70 country experience and ‘RAHAT’ was one of the six collaborating centres in India.
The beneficiaries of the various activities undertaken by RAHAT are members of the community and general public, including families of and those suffering from mental health problems. The services are rendered free of charge without any discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, sex or socioeconomic status.
The various audio visuals productions, especially during COVID-19 HAS BEEN INCLUDED BY World Psychiatric Association (WPA) on their website www.wpanet.org as trusted partners.