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Gurgaon Gaon takes big leap in Mental Health

Gurugaon, Gurgaon Gaon located in Old Gurgaon just off Railway Road, , is taking much-needed steps in addressing the needs of Mental Illness. Resembling a semi-urban village, Gurgaon Gaon  has a population of about 40,000 and based on national averages it is estimated that more than 1,000 residents suffer from severe mental illness – schizophrenia, bi-polar and deep depression This affects, apart from those with mental illness, their families and the whole community.
Suresh Pandey, a resident of Gurgaon Gaon, has a son living with mental illness. Medical treatment at the Civil Hospital helped stabilise the boy but the young man was not getting back to a normal life.Suresh found Sambandh Health Foundation in Sector 31, Gurgaon who are running a recovery program for those with mental illness. Unfortunately sending the boy to the centre was a challenge. Public transport was not convenient. Also an attendant was required to go with the boy. So Suresh invited Sambandh to come to Gurgaon Gaon.
Sambandh Health Foundation, the pioneering organisation in the field of mental health, will now work with the community of Gurgaon Gaon in this area, bringing in their unique and tested recovery model to the village.. Sambandh has launched their program with an awareness program for the entire community apprising them that mental illness is a disease like so many others and recovery from it is possible. Subsequently, families will come participate in Self-help Group meetings, to discuss matters and bring forward some of the mentally ill family members. Sambandh will also work with those with mental illness and help them get back to as normal a life as possible in the community.
Suresh said “we are pleased that Sambandh is working here. It will provide relief to hundreds of families and people with illness. My friends and I are working with the community to make this project a success.
Rajiv Agarwal, Chief Executive of Sambandh Health Foundation said “ we intend to take our successful recovery model to many villages in Haryana. We will work with the communities to support people to recover and lead a fuller life. The families will also get supported”.
As per WHO “Mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems, with different symptoms. However, they are generally characterized by some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others”.
About 10% of the Indian population is affected by mental illness. This includes common mental disorders (CMD) like mild depression, anxiety etc., and severe mental disorders (SMD) like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, OCD etc.  90% of common mental disorders and 50% of the severe mental disorders are never treated and not even diagnosed. 
Nancy Beck, an international expert who has been working with Sambandh for last six years said “It is important to know that mental illness is treatable. Just like a chemical change in the pancreas causes diabetes, a chemical change in the brain can cause mental illness. It can happen to anyone. Though there is no cure for severe and chronic mental illness, the good news is that Recovery is a huge possibility. With family & social supports and Recovery services a person can get back to a natural life in the community.

She added that “The Sambandh model focuses on engaging the person with mental illness in meaningful work and supporting them to be included in the society with the same respect and dignity like anyone else. In the last few years Sambandh has worked with thousands of people to help them understand and overcome mental illness”.