Psychotherapy for All: An Experiment

by aditya on Mar 17, 2008      Category: Conflict & Disaster Tags: india health people

Anxiety and stress related problems are viewed predominantly as issues faced by affluent people in well developed regions. Dr. Virkam Patel believes that a number of problems in Goa's poorest sections like alchoholism, domestic abuse and unemployment are both consequences and causes of mental problems. Since dealing with mental illnesses requires less medical expertise, Dr.Patel taps human resources by hiring and training non-medical personnel at a low cost to setup clinics where patients are helped with mental disorders.

6 users have voted.



aditya's picture

I am unsure about where depression, anxiety and mental illnesses fit in with other healthcare issues that require attention in under-developed areas. This pilot run is supposed to be reviewed in two years time.

Meanwhile, the broad idea of identifying medical problems that require lesser expertise to treat, and reducing costs and spreading treatment by hiring and training willing non-medical workers is an idea that impressed me here. More so since India is so populated/rich in human resources (depending on how you look at it :) )

parul8ue's picture

Indeed, mental illnesses are not acknowledged in the developing world (at least in India) due to the social stigma attached with it. But world over, people are slowly learning otherwise and taking steps to correct it. A few efforts of note:

Neural Networks ( founded by a young, enterprising student at UC San Diego, USA. See a presentation on it here:

In Afghanistan
In Nepal

Even Art of Living has done camps for victims of the Iraq conflict!

Surely is a worthy experiment!

parul8ue's picture

Another similar idea is suicide helplines where volunteers or people with no special skills are trained to counsel severely depressed people over the phone (anonymity helps cover the social stigma). A good blog post on this issue:

Chandni's picture

Talk on Surviving Schizophrenia, Sept 25, Delhi

From Sam

"Ninth talk of the series,"The Canvas Askew", which will be delivered Prof.
PSVN Sharma, from KMC, Manipal on September 25th, 2009, at the Gulmohar
Hall, The India Habitat Centre at 7 PM.The talk is titled "Surviving
Schizophrenia". Mr Pankaj Pachauri, broadcaster and journalist, will chair
the session. All are invited, so please feel free to forward this mail to
anybody you think may be interested.There is no registration fee. For
feedback, suggestions and comments, please do write to
Dr. Alok Sarin or

Chandni's picture

From Gurudatt Kundapurkar
Sep 27, 2009

In family-centric countries caregivers (shubhankars) of persons with mental illness (shubharthi) take upon themselves primary responsibility of their wards. Besides there is acute dearth of professional services and other facilities required for restoration of mental health and reintegration back into the community. Therefore, one of the major concerns of the shubhankars is 'What will happen to my shubharthi after we are no more?" This could be the case even if the the shubhankar has made financial provision for the shubharthi's future.

Some Pune's shubhankars are keen to find a long-term solution to this challenge in terms of residential and other facilities for affected families or individual shubharthis. They are keen to know how to go about converting this absolute necessity into a relieving reality?

Would individuals and institutions, with necessary information and experience in this field, share them either thru the open forum of karmayog digest ( or directly with Schizophrenia Awareness Association, Pune, on email id or By complying with this request you would have earned the gratitude of thousands of shubhankars and shubharthis groping in a never-ending darkness. Thank you in advance. = Gurudatt Kundapurkar

Chandni's picture

Workshop on 'Trauma Therapy in Women', Oct 5, Bombay

haribatti's picture

It makes perfect sense. Of course mental illness happens to poor people! It happens to all kinds of people. Even in the west, I think, it is often the mentally ill who end up homeless.

This is an interesting thread.

Chandni's picture

Seminar: Understanding LGBT Individuals, Nov 5, Hyderabad

Chandni's picture

Note on Mental Health Issues in India by Dr Dayal Mirchandani

Chandni's picture

Active Listening Training Programme in Pune in Nov '09 + Video on Suicide

Chandni's picture

Posted by: "neeloferrl"
Tue Dec 22, 2009

The College of Social Work-Nirmala Niketan is organising a talk cum discussion on the topic of "Application of Western therapeutic models to Indian cultural set-up" by Mr.Nayeem, a licensed psychotherapist from US who is currently practicing in California.
The talk will be held on Monday, 4th January 2010 from 3.00p.m to 5.00p.m at College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan, 1st floor, BSW III class room.
There is a charge of Rs.50/- for professionals.
The talk is open to all those professionals who are practising individual counselling/ psychotherapy with their clients.

Chandni's picture

If you or someone you know would like to avail of free counselling sessions in Bangalore, check

Chandni's picture

Grief Healing Website

From: Thiagarajan Arunachalam

Hello Chandni!

Hope this greets you in great cheer!

Here is a short message from my colleague at SEVA who has devoted several months in bringing up this website

Lot of thoughts and work has gone into making this possible. Kindly spread it in your unique ways of sharing with a large group of friends and contacts.

Thanks and Best Regards

On Wed, Feb 3, 2010, sangeeta reddy wrote:

Dear all,

This website aims at providing a healing space for the grief-stricken who may be finding it difficult to come to terms with the loss of a loved one . Support4grief offers a host of information by way of articles,share your experiences online, links, FAQ’s, inspirational quotes,coping mechanisms,and also includes ideas on how to create a fitting memorial to loved ones that may give solace to the grief-stricken. kindly forward it to your family,friends, and colleagues. pl click the following link to view it

Add new comment