Concern for Mental Health Altruist – Dava & Dua 2015 to 2017

Dr.Ajay Chauhan,Founder Trustee, Altruist / Dava & Dua
Head of Ahmedabad Mental Health Hospital, Secretary, Mental Health Gujarat.

Shrines (Durgahs) in India develop a reputation for offering relief from suffering, this Durgah in Mehsana is known to help people with mental illness if they come to pray here.

India_CFMH_02.pngThe sufferers come with their families, stay for weeks at the shrine. While they pray, psychological and psychiatric interventions are offered via work with the religious head/priest, the Mojaver of the shrine, who is an expert in identifying those with psychiatric illness. He refers those he identifies to the psychiatric clinic on the premises, they are given medication and treatment. The 'cure' comes with dua (prayer) and dava (medication).

In collaboration with The Altruist, Concern for Mental Health started a rehabilitation program for the attendees at the shrine. While the mentally ill devotees pray, and get medication and stay at the shrine during their recovery, they are taught rehabilitative skills. Arrangements are made for them to have structure to their day during free time, in between prayers.

India_CFMH_2017_03.pngSome of the activities are shown here. They are taught candle making, packing of spices, tailoring, and other skills, as depicted below, that will enable them to earn money. Their time, sometimes up to six weeks stay at the shrine, becomes constructive while they heal through prayer and medicine, therapy in the form of group support.