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Today is World Schizophrenia Day.
Only remembering this day will not help the sufferers to recover from it. We need to bring more awareness among the masses about this illness. Like any other disease this is also treatable. Still people are very ashamed to speak out on it.
It has been a long time since I have been living with a schizophrenic person. I am a part of her existence for 24 hours and this person is none other than my own mother. When she was first diagnosed with the illness we knew nothing of it. We were totally ignorant but with our love and support today she has got back that lost strength in her life. We never let her feel the void in her life. Everyday is a challenge for her. I cannot explain the agony and pain through which she goes through everyday but I believe that to some extent we have succeeded to ease her pain. So it is evident that with love and support everything is possible. Now the time has arrived to spread the message of love and happiness in our society so that these struggling people would never go into this never ending path of darkness and they could lead a normal life as much as possible. So let’s come forward and light the candle of hope in their life.
I am very elated to have this platform to share some of my thoughts and feelings today.
The Value Of Human Touch & How To Cope With Social Distancing Post COVID
As we all know there’s a global pandemic going on right now i.e. COVID-19, so it’s a very crucial time for
the government and the common people. I’m glad that people are taking precautions and are aware of
the disease and it’s symptoms but at the same time I feel pitty for those who do not follow the
government’s guidelines. I feel that there is always pros and cons to everything. The precautions and
guidelines for COVID- 19 are good and in a way bad also. Good in the sense, social Distancing and being
hygienic had showed people there boundaries and necessities.
For example I’m glad that government has declared social distancing mandatory because if we think
deeply, this social distancing will decrease the rate of rape cases and murders. Now girls are very much
safe from any bad touch and physical harassment. They are fearless now on the roads, as even if
someone wants, no one can touch them and harass them as a result those men will be in their limits
while standing near a women. On the contrary this social distancing has also been a disadvantage at
some level. Some people cannot get close and express their love and affection properly. For example, if
someone is very happy and wants to hug his or her friends then they can’t and it becomes more difficult
when people have to maintain social distancing inside homes too because as a bad touch there is also a
good touch that makes people feel good like the touch of a mother for her child. In such situations
friends cannot hangout together due to which people have also felt isolated and bored which irritates
Post COVID lockdown, we need to understand consciously that social distancing is necessary for current
situation and hence should maintain it rather than feeling bad about it. As everything in life is temporary
so this crucial phase is going to end too.
In a society where each of us is grown to be independent in spirit and thoughts, there’s always some ambiguity and insanity in a way, that bogs us down in that analysis. We see that the world is our playground, it’s a game but sometimes we play the game too well, that we forget to take care of one’s mental, physical, and spiritual health. This, in turn, seems like luggage, a restless backpack ready to disperse in a bang.
Our most intrinsic nature is caring. It’s one of the most important things that I had to learn and also unlearn. Unlearn in a way, that it’s regulated. Not forced on one another, most importantly, perceived with discipline for one’s own self. I arrived at the footsteps of the Manam Foundation, with depression coupled with anxiety. The atmosphere of such a place can only be described by the sheer volume of nostalgia that I carry with me, but not in mere words- that would seem too extravagant and unnecessary.
Dr. Somya Mohapatra was my guide and also my Guru. She taught me the things that I could love more, and even more than so, accept it. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter: we can’t expect everyone to be the way that we want them to be and that’s the beauty of it. I’m more or less paraphrasing some of the words that she spoke to me, maybe there could be a book, volumes. But the most important part of therapy was, growth, not the ones that give us instant gratification but the ones that have till now, stuck with me, that is like a plant, that I water, every now and then. I don’t really mind about the fruits that I might reap from it because my guru, my ma’am taught me, you really don’t have to worry about the consequences of your actions, as long as you are doing it right with respect to the laws of nature, with courage and love.
Someone once said, “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” It’s true. It’s necessary for survival and growth, that’s what I learned from Manam. That’s what makes Manam so special and endearing in its pursuit to make anyone be the best possible version of themselves. Join Manam and realize that you are not alone, you are not the only one but most importantly you are the only one that can make a difference with yourself.
Parenting in the time of Corona Virus
Corona virus? Lockdown? Parenting? Might sound like a perfect recipe for a nightmare for some. This insidious virus has not just descended as a hazard on our physical heath but has shaken our mental health too inviting for more turbulent times. The fallout of this bleak situation has been an indefinite lockdown which has not only shackled us to our houses but also to our family members. As much as it’s difficult for people to wade through those murky waters, parents have been struggling to keep up with their children alongside the already impending hazard. Now that the breathing space in the relationships has ceased to exist as children instead of schools/colleges and parents instead of office/house work are all tied down under the same roof with a very little outside movement, it is very likely for parents to feel sandwiched between work and spending time with their children and consequently carry the guilt when failing to deliver. So just like in a flight, the oxygen masks are supposed to be worn on ourselves first and then assist the fellow passengers; similarly, it is important for parents to understand how crucial it is for them to maintain their mental hygiene before engaging with their children. Thus it is important to have a structured day so that the tasks at hand are ticked off smoothly and the moods are also regulated. While spacing out the tasks for the day, it is important that parents include ample amount of time for family bonding and engage in activities which will strengthen their relationship with their children. Activities like gardening, cooking, cleaning the house, playing games, watching movies together are some of the activities that can boost the relationship. With the disruption of the natural rhythm of the daily routine, the children might feel unsettled, out of place and anxious. It is then we need to make them confront the ongoing scenario of the lockdown and lay down factual information related to virus and comfort their nerves by hugging them, cuddling and making them feel secured. Dancing or singing to their favourite songs can also help them calm down. But it should be kept in mind that breaking down of the information about the virus might vary from age groups and that parents need to be patient about it and ask for assistance when needed.
As much as everyone likes lemonade, they like to keep the lemon content in check. Similarly, over-bonding or spending too much time together may backfire and lead to bitterness. Children should be taught how to spend time by themselves like inculcating the habit of reading books or learning a new skill to name some. Meanwhile parents can cut themselves some slack and indulge in activities which will help them rejuvenate and cater to their self growth. A work done under burden is work done inefficiently. Thus it’s important for parents to feel at ease themselves for their children to feel the same. Cause at the end of the day, they emulate and look up to you.
Psychological First-Aid in the time of CoronaVirus
The insidious spread of the pandemic Covid19 has gripped the entire world in a bitter ambiguity. Amidst the blame game for the rise of this unfortunate virus, the entire world is looming under the threat of an unprecedented anxiety and an array of several other mental illnesses along with battling the infection itself. As godforsaken as the world might seem right now, it is important for us to understand the magnitude of the situation, prepare and shield ourselves with a handy “Psychological First-Aid” customized especially for the current scenario.
As we know that human beings are by nature social animals so it is most likely that majority of us will suffer from Cabin Fever during these times. Cabin Fever refers to erratic mood swings, grouchiness, irritability and suffocation due to indefinite period of isolation like in this lockdown. This can come along with increased bouts of anxiety and lows. It is then essential for us to follow this rad mantra- ‘Recognise’ ‘Accept’ ‘Deal’ (RAD). Instead of shoving the anxieties under the carpet and calling it baseless it is best fit for us to recognize its presence, accept its happening and efficiently deal with the triggers behind it. One of the uber ways to deal with this is to listen to some guided meditation or binaural beats or positive affirmations which help us soothe our nerves and calm us down.
Here are some binaural beats and positive affirmations to start with-
It is highly helpful listen to these guided meditation and beats and affirmations right before our sleep as it tunes our subconscious mind faster towards positivity and relaxation. Another rejuvenating alternative is to reconnect back to your hobbies and fuel you inner creativity. Talking about it with our closed ones can also help relieve stress and stay connected.
The next element which is in deep waters right now is our ‘Social Identity’. For us humans our social identity is a top priority and that is equally proportionate to what we do and how we do it in a day. Consequently it is not uncommon for people to spiral down in social identity crises in this quarantine period as lockdown has abruptly halted our everyday routine and chores and forced us to fearfully ponder over “What do I do now?” Without a structured day, we might fall into the discomfort of the existential crises and create a deadlock for ourselves. It is therefore important that we create an organized plan of the things that we would want to do in a day that would give us a sense of satisfaction and feed our self growth. Sleep and eating patterns play a vital role in this schedule and need to be monitored no matter how hard pressed we are to eat that extra snack or sleep for at least half an hour more.
In these turbulent hours, intake of a lot of unnecessary information on the virus can baffle us. Thus it is important that we rationalize and regulate the data which we are consuming from different media platforms and confine ourselves to facts from authentic sources.
As much as it is necessary to stick to a healthy schedule, it’s also crucial that we be less harsh on ourselves during those tough times. And at last it is pivotal for us to always remember that reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of SELF REDEMPTION.
2020 has been a series of unfortunate events, hasn’t it?
All of a sudden you’re plunged into a movie quite similar to ‘Contagion’ (a movie I won’t recommend right now) and it looks like even Tom Hanks can’t save us. Lives of every individual in their respective field has come to a standstill and none of us still know by when can we regain the state of normalcy! While some of the things seem out of control, we can still make an effort to rise above this period with absolute positivity. – there’s a silver lining to everything. It seems that the universe wanted you to take a break, doesn’t it?
It is past noon and the commotion due to the alarming increase in COVID-19 cases hasn’t settled yet. We notice our parents glued to the TV, rechecking their Whatsapp forwards with the news. Amid this state of urgency, a forced lock-down and constant media reporting of the disease spread, what we have really forgotten to take care of is our mental health. We are so caught up in peer-led activities for constant engagement, memes on the global situation and fake news pieces which are trending on social media to deal with the Quarantine that we tend to overlook that the psychological pressure each of us must be experiencing.
Some of us find this confinement maddening. Some of us are happy because solitude became our dear friend long back. Some of us are trying to not let our thoughts strangle us. Some remain undisturbed. All of us are dumbfounded and that’s normal. Panicking is normal. Freaking out over what seems to be an impending doom is normal. Wanting to go out is normal. However, dwelling too much on this side can prove to be ‘not so normal’ for your mental health. Hence, striking a balance between what’s going on outside, in the world and what’s going on inside, in your mind becomes necessary.
What do we do then? How do we strike this balance?
Like most things in life, it’s simple.
Here is something that might help you and your loved ones who can’t seem to put things into perspective.
List out the things you’ve always wanted to do. A skill you’ve always wanted to improve. A friend you’ve always wanted to catch up with. A dish that you’ve always wanted to cook. A movie/ TV show/book that has been in your list for years. A Ted Talk that has been in your ‘Watch Later’ list forever. That face mask you’ve been dying to try. Make sure this list is a long one with every little thing that you can come up with. When you wake up in the morning, make a routine that involves at least two of these things from your list.Anything that gives you happiness and peace!
Who knows if we’ll ever get asked to stay home again? Who knows if everyday will feel like Sunday again? Who says you cannot seize the day on your couch? Who says you can’t rebuild yourself even when the world seems to be falling apart? Instagram and Facebook can wait. The whole world will wait. To end with, “We can take this as an opportunity,the earth is recuperating, and so can we”
Addiction is a rapidly growing menace in our society today. it has a huge impact on the economic burden of our country. The objective of this workshop was to spread awareness with the users through expression of their emotions with art and painting. Some of their art was heart wrenching and also an insight into their dark world. Sessions like these help in the healing of the inner world of the addicts. There were 60 addicts. They also shared their experiences and recited slam poetry.
People across Odisha were invited for pitching in their bit to prevent suicide and make this world a shade better than it was yesterday through original write-ups and photographs. This was a part of our initiative in collaboration with the New Indian Express and 93. 5 Red F.M. for the fifteen day-long suicide prevention campaign. There was an enthusiastic response with over two hundred entries consisting of short stories, poems, slogans and photographs, with prizes for the best ones which were given out at the final event in the East Coast Railway Auditorium by Mr. A. Sarangi (Director, BPSPA).
The winning pieces for poetry in Odia, Hindi and English were by Swagat Rout, Bhuvanesh Kumar Pradhan, Rahul Kanugo respectively. The second prize in the Hindi and English categories were bagged by Bhabani Prasad Nayak and Ayushi Acharya.
The prize for best picture was awarded to Rupesh Kumar Pasayat for his sketch.
The overwhelming participation gave us a sense that we as a society are ready to be open about suicide, that we see the urgency in why it should be looked at which is the very first step in trying to move forward and hopefully resolve this issue.
To borrow from Hollywood, the pursuit of happiness is perhaps what all of us have set out to do. With our current lifestyle, it’s not very hard to feel like Atlas (although one buckling under pressure), as if we’re bearing the weight of the entire world on our shoulders. Juggling around a high-stress work environment or a demanding educational curriculum and personal relationships, with others and most importantly, with oneself, can be quite draining. This is not without consequence- such a strain is unhealthy both for mental and physical health, worse, if you’re already struggling with these health problems.
Lifestyle changes can go miles in helping realign yourself, to recover from anxiety, stress, depression and the like; if you aren’t, then it will be a great preventive measure for not letting your body lapse into these states. All your organ systems come together, complexly interconnected to form you and thus any dysfunction has various factors contributing to it. Medication will target a part of the problem but changing your lifestyle will help in a well-rounded recovery and also, prevention of a relapse.
‘Counselling’ the word itself could have very general connotations as well as extremely special connotations. It is not about giving advice or telling people what to do and what not to do. It is not about helping people for the sake of helping. It does not mean sharing your feelings superficially or being treated as someone with mental health issues. The notion of Therapeutic Counselling is usually misunderstood as a treatment for the mentally challenged. It is high time we break the myths that surround “Counselling” and start receiving the benefits of a Subject called “Therapeutic counselling” that has far-reaching positive impact and has been world-wide acclaimed as a holistic approach towards Personal and Professional Enrichment. Counselling, in fact, is facilitating a person’s decision to grow. It is an initiative to help people help themselves.
A friendly Entity within Professional Boundaries!!
A Problem-Solving Approach towards a Solution-Centric Accomplishment!!
Professional Counselling Relationship Consists of qualities like Trust, Empathetic Concern, Patient Listening and Responding, Confidentiality, Transparency and Perceptive Understanding towards the Counsellee.
The Process begins with one sharing one’s problems, concern and difficulties in resolving life issues and ends with a healthy identification of the approach towards solving them. Though counselling ends at a certain point of time the feedback and follow-up continues till the Counsellee is self-help efficient.
“Lord, give me the will power to change what can be changed, the grace to accept what cannot be changed and the wisdom to know the difference”- Amen
During the service workshop conducted at Moinsikhalo by Manam the appalling condition of the residents came to the forefront. The majority of the youth were victims of drug abuse and were a major source of concern to the families and Manam. Dr. Jai prakash Ravan addressed the residents to make them aware of the kind of help they could avail of through Manam and uplift their mental and physical living conditions. Free medicines were distributed to those who were identified with mental disturbances. Manam Foundation’s plan is to make regular visits to monitor the impact it can make over time in the quality of mental health of 2700 residents of the abovementioned slum.
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
Manam conducted yet another art leadership project where this time severely mentally ill patients in the psychiatric ward were coaxed into expressing themselves through this process of art. It was noticed that some patients who had not been interactive for months showed an interest in this novel initiative. It was amazing to see the talent some of them displayed despite their mental condition. It was very heartening to see it !!
The Foundation conducted its first day course in ‘ Basic Skills in Counselling ‘ at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. The course was well attended by a varied group comprising of all age groups. It was successful in incorporating fundamentals of counselling techniques to cope with relationships. There will be many such courses conducted relevant to personality disorders, self discovery and psychological mechanisms enhancing skills. It was conducted by our expert psychiatrist Dr Jai Prakash Ravan.
An art expression camp was held at Samarpan, a leading deaddiction counselling centre. The objective of the camp was to gently encourage the inmates to find joy in moments of creative release by painting kettles which were unique with each ones expression. These handpainted kettles are then showcased for sale to raise funds for the cause of mental health.