for Research on Mind and Discourse
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The Seher Anthem
We Imagine a world
The Seher Anthem
We Imagine a world
Seher, (meaning 'Dawn' in Urdu), envisions sustainable psychosocial health through community development. We aim to reach the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ population through providing holistic and a diversity of psychosocial services, thus providing a model for bridging a huge gap in Development practice.
The Mission of the Seher Urban Community Mental Health and Inclusion program (UCMHI) in low income communities (slums) is, to enable communities to be psychologically contained, their emotional needs met, being tolerant and inclusive of the mental health needs of a diversity of people, including those with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. Through concerted multi level actions, and enculturing a very high level of partnerships, both government and non-government, Seher facilitates the creation of caring communities.
With the commitment of the Indian / Asian governments to both the CRPD as well as the SDGs, there is the buzz in the air for transforming the sector, more towards community mental health. Within the mental health frame, a number of programs exist today, to provide medical and social interventions in communities.
The Seher program is specifically geared towards having extensive strategies for transforming communities towards the mainstreaming and the inclusion of persons with mental health problems and psychosocial disabilities. Organic linkage with Development is strong a component in the program as one of the many psychosocial intervention strategies the project adopts. The Seher program is located at the fulcrum of mental health and disability thinking, adopting the strengths of both models, and inspired by the CRPD.
- A focused, piloted and tested program addressing the community inclusion needs of persons with mental health problems and psycho-social disabilities.
- Having a comprehensive inclusion based MH program in the community level has reduced the need for institutionalization. Relapse is also much reduced.
- Based on indigenous knowledge and arts based therapies (ABT), which is culturally more accepted (sensory learning, cultural adaptation to local forms of arts, ability to intervene safely in crisis situations, and allows spiritual growth)
- Modular way of delivery, to work within a complex matrix of community needs matching with skill sets at different levels
- Differentiated roles for workers at the community level
- High level of community partnerships in care giving
- Strong collaboration with local government of Pune city corporation
- Population coverage of 1 Unit of community based mental health and inclusion service is approximately 100000 population (approximately 5-6 low income communities - slums)
- 2 such Units are presently at work in Pune and ready for upscaling to 3 more
- Staff - Senior Management excluding Director (2); Middle level management (2); grassroots management (1); Grassroots implementers (7); Back end (2); consultants (2)
- Infrastructure provided by the public health system - municipal government in the 2 human community habitats of about 30-50 slums each
- Community profile - mostly dalit hindu (erstwhile 'low caste'), neo-buddhist and muslim minorities; service sector / labour / manufacturing workers; self employed with small businesses (scrap and waste); domestic workers. Naturalized communities with children, elderly, families settled for decades, with very low migration rates. Skewed sex ratio (girls are lost in early years <10; men are lost in older years >50 mostly to alcohol and HIV); good network of NGOs and local government service providers (primary education, a few social security measures for food, housing, sanitation, pensions and allowances).
- Outreach every year: approximately 1500 households per unit for household, social surveys and sharing basic information about the program; 8000-10000 people per unit about psychosocial awareness, corner meetings, and household information interventions; 10-15 homeless or wandering or institutionalized population; 200-400 people with a range of psycho-social issues and disabilities per year, per unit; approximately 150 people with a prevention of stress / distress and promoting wellbeing approach.
- Financing: The project depends on grants @ 25000 USD per unit. However the major cost of care is distributed among many stakeholders, including local government; public health services (infrastructure, diagnostic services for a variety of health conditions and support staff); a number of philanthropists and altruists who provide supports including food, shelter, spaces for activities, private health care, spiritual / moral counselling to family members, address basic needs at neighbourhood level, and befriending / emotional support as neighbours, community members or as volunteers who have recovered.
The community mental health and inclusion program works across the spectrum, but has specific modular strategies for psychosocial stress, distress, mental illness and psychosocial disabilities.
- Model of intervention with outcome of inclusion - 8 point framework provides segments in which interventions are needed and to be provided (Embed Link).
- Referrals - With a number of government and non-government service providers towards comprehensive health care, nutritional inputs, homeopathic, unani and naturopathic treatments, domestic violence counselling and legal services, cancer / HIV - ART support centers, educational, recreational facilities, other cultural and spiritual support systems and psychiatric services and livelihoods.
- Partnerships - To create a multiplier effect on producing care givers, we partner extensively with local communities, the local authorities, neighbourhoods of clients and their families, primary education staff, nursing and other staff in attendance within the public health system, local self help groups and other groups (e.g. Ganesh mandals), other food and basic needs providers, altruists, opinion makers and philanthropists in the local areas.
- Trainings - Non-stop staff training for their professional growth and development; training of local support providers and community care givers; trainings for staff in the public health system; trainings on non formal care giving for the local organizations; within a large umbrella of international training and supports on the CRPD.
- Funding for a fund deprived sector and highly dynamic and fragile grant making sector
- Staff management at grassroots level is a challenge
- Time required by senior management for writing academically, disseminating experiences and building research collaborations is not available, due to fire fighting program issues
- Upscaling challenges
- Addressing Alcoholism and substance use and Domestic Violence in a comprehensive way has been a huge challenge.
- We feel helpless in case of people who are zombied by long term effects of psychiatric medication.
1. A research program to study the effectiveness of our grassroots psychosocial interventions, within the context of Disability Inclusive Development
2. Upscaling to 5 centers in Pune and harvest the learnings for wider dissemination
3. Training opportunities in India and in Asia, on propagation locally tested models of community mental health and inclusion services.
Building B1, Kaul Building, II Floor,
8 GuruNanak Nagar, Off Shankar Seth Road,
A4-38, Ujwal Park Housing Society,
NIBM Road, Kondhwa Khurd,