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Awareness about severe mental disorders very important, says Schizophrenia Awareness Association secretary

The Schizophrenia Awareness Association (SAA) secretary Nilima Bapat talks about the initiatives taken by the organisation for creating awareness.

pune Updated: Dec 26, 2017 17:06 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
mental disorder,Nilima Bapat,schizophrenia awareness association
Nilima Bapat .(HT Photo)

The Schizophrenia Awareness Association (SAA) has been working to raise awareness about severe mental illnesses since 1998. Jui Dharwadkar talks to SAA secretary, Nilima Bapat, about the initiatives taken by the organisation.

What are the initiatives presently undertaken by SAA?

Presently SAA is working towards creating public awareness and understanding about mental disorders in general and schizophrenia in particular. There is still a lot of stigma associated with mental illnesses and we want to reduce it through awareness. We also conduct self-help sessions for families afflicted with mental illnesses .

How important is awareness about severe mental illnesses among youngsters?

Awareness about severe mental disorders including schizophrenia is very important among youngsters. This is mainly because schizophrenia patients start showing symptoms at the age of 16-years-old. At that time if youngsters are aware they would should more acceptance and support for these patients which can help a lot.

Could you tell us about the day-care-cum rehabilitation centre run at SAA?

SAA runs a day-care-cum rehabilitation centre at Dhayari in Pune for patients suffering from chronic mental illnesses and those who are under medication. Patients receive therapeutic day care and can participate in rehabilitation related programmes at the centre. Presently we have 40 patients at our day-care centre.

What activities have been undertaken for patients at SAA and how do these help?

Keeping patients with mental disorders engaged is very important. At SAA we conduct several activities like drawing, painting, singing, yoga sessions, playing musical instruments and cooking among other things. Patients seen excelling in any particular skill are also provided specialised training for the same. With such activities, patients understand their hidden skills which boosts their confidence.

How does SAA help people suffering from severe mental illnesses and who are from the economically weaker section of the society?

Presently, we are looking forward to accepting 20 people from the economically weaker sections and who are under medication, for free, at our centre.

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 17:05 IST