A massive fifteen day-long campaign on suicide prevention was undertaken by Manam Foundation in collaboration with Indian Express and radio channel 93.5 Red F.M. This hugely neglected issue was tackled through awareness talks, workshops, seminars which aimed at educating different cross sections of society regarding identification of emotions and coping measures to avert risky suicidal behaviour. The thrust age group was that of the adolescents and workshops were held in Engineering and Medical Colleges like GITA, NIST, SUM, IIT, Silicon, Ramadevi and NISER. The sessions were hugely interactive.
The momentum was maintained till the day of the event, September 10, where the campaign culminated in a scintillating function at East Coast Railway Auditorium amidst distinguished guests, Dr. R. P. Sharma (Director General of Police, Odisha), Dr. B. R. Mishra (Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS Bhubaneswar), Dr. Pranay Swain (DEAN Students’ Affairs, NISER Bhubaneswar) and Mr. A. Sarangi (Director BPSPA). There were superbly orchestrated performances by the Odissi Dance Academy, TPH group from KIIT and Sai Dance Group. The campaign had opened a competition for public participation to win awards for poetry writing, short story writing, slogan writing and photography. There was overwhelming response with over two hundred participants and the awards were given out to the winners at the function. The program was attended by social groups, students of various colleges and participants from Manam and The New Indian Express House. The program ended with a declaration of creating a State helpline for the suicial and the emotionally deprived.
A session again for fresher’s for all the coping skills and techniques to maintain the best mental hygiene for maximizing potential development and helping them to understand their own emotions and understanding the difference between depression , anxiety and stress and to know when to ask for help . Suicides in engineering colleges are rising and its important address this issue instead of brushing it under the carpet. Attended by 150 students.
A session for the fresher batch of Gita college who were initiated by Manam and empowered with Adaptability skills , Time Management , Developing potential , Goal setting for themselves and identification of their emotions for balanced handling in a new situation. Dealing with addiction and peer pressure was a prime focal point including extreme competition and parental expectations. The talk wound up with benefits of diet, exercise and spiritual tasks for mental health. It was attended by 250 fresher’s of both genders and was an interactive session.
A session directed to 142 students for their emotional and psychological management. Dealing with peer pressure and parental expectations were there primary issues. The career anxiety is also acute because of societal pressure.
An occupational therapist was invited to address the different kinds of daycare clientele and their caregivers on how the mental health illnesses from severe to moderate to mild can be dealt with by making different programmes and plans for the clients to increase their daily functionality. This was a big eye-opener for the caregivers who generally have no idea about how to motivate their wards to be more functional. It was attended by 7 day care clients and their parents/ guardians / caregivers.
This workshop was directed at the teaching faculty at HAPPY HOURS ., a large junior level school and so the teachers have to have a certain different kind of sensibility. They were severely stressed with the nature of work and constant balancing act between their work and home life. This workshop was to teach them techniques to cope and balance their work-home space and keep their emotional and mental hygiene healthy. It was attended by 70 teachers.
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.
Manam celebrated World De-addiction Day with great aplomb and vigour. Various participants were invited from different de-addiction rehab centers to compete for prizes in slam poetry and painting. The participation was full of joy as many experiences in their journey as addicts were shared through art.
Manam had the opportunity to host a dinner at its premises for renowned psychiatrists from Mumbai- D. Harish Shetty and Dr. J. Rajani, and esteemed local psychiatrists from KIMS and AIIMS, which was a part of the annual Alcoholics Anonymous meet. They highlighted the twelve-step program for de-addiction and some members shared their personal journeys as well.
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 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.
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 !!