India has a serious shortage of mental health professionals – as few as 3500 trained psychiatrists in a nation of over a billion. This leave a substantial treatment gap, and stigma around mental health issues that is hard to overcome.
Enter Sangath, an NGO based in Goa, India. Sangath’s mission is to improve health by improving and empowering local community resources, and it’s approach to mental health is an interesting one.
Since the organization can’t create mental health practitioners from whole cloth, it has sought out alternatives. Locals who had graduated from high school were offered the opportunity to be trained and supervised as mental health counsellors in their communities. The organization screens people who are referred to them, and if help is needed, the counsellors then provide them with two months of home-based treatment.
This short film introduces some of the people involved in Sangath, including founder Dr. Vikram Patel, Subhash Pednekar, a counsellor with the organization, and Vrunda, a recent widow who benefited from Subhash’s care.