Samruddhi: Families are the chief support for mentally challenged persons. These families have continuous challenge of caring and supporting the mentally challenged through out the life. Recognizing this need, the goal of SAMRUDDHI is to strengthen and enrich the family life of mentally challenged persons.
The year 2010-2011 will be the Golden Jubilee year of AMC. A research centre is established in 2008 to understand the needs of the families and develop and evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention programmes to strengthen and enrich the family lives of mentally challenged persons. It is planned to develop a model of life long support to families using the services of professionals, volunteers, self-help groups and the modern information technology. Support to families would include series of educational films and a network of support available at all times to these families. Research based publications will provide knowledge and information on best practices in the field. An interactive website will address the information needs. The helpline will reach out the services of experts. Posters to educate public will be developed and widely disseminated. Specific activities will be as follows:
- Psychosocial counselling services : Utilising the services of trained clinical psychologists, psychiatric social workers and specially trained volunteer ‘counsellors’, regular and committed services to address the psychological, social and income generating needs of the families and mentally challenged persons will be met.
- Vocational support activities for the family members of mentally challenged persons to increase their income and independence. This will use the Stree Sakthi programme approaches.
- Creation of a web based information resources that is appropriate to different communities in their own language and using the socio-cultural beliefs and practices. This pool of information would be presented in a manner that users will be able to utilise to address their needs. The information will be continuously updated both with the advances in the fields of mental handicap, autism and multiple disability and more importantly by the experiences and expectations of the user group. A very important aspect is the dynamic nature of this pool of information. The website will be under the guidance of an expert group of professionals.
- A series of short films will be prepared to educate parents about daily care of mentally challenged persons.
- Development of a directory of services useful to families of mentally challenged. Initially it will cover services available in Bangalore; and later stage on the entire state of Karnataka. Such an information base will allow for dissemination of information about the available services, the networking of the services and to stimulate development of services at places without such services.
- Formation of self-help groups in different parts of the city/state, as close to the places of living, so that it will be easy for the users to meet, share and support each other. It will use web based resources and interact with the experts at certain centres through mobile phones and community radio. These groups will also contribute to the growth of the information pool.
- Community Radio for interactive interaction with the users. Initially there will be a broadcast to the user community once a week for 30 minutes. It will cover some specific areas. The users will get opportunity to raise questions through phone. An important feature of the programme is its interactive nature with active inputs from the mentally challenged persons and their families. Mobile phones would facilitate this service. Creation of such a big network of families on a continuous manner can have advocacy value for the mentally challenged persons.
- Linkage of the services for mentally challenged persons and their families will be available at AMC through internet, self-help groups, community radio and voluntary organisations.