The Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has tied up with the governments of Kerala and Maharashtra for developing a model to provide shelter to women from mental health institutions who have been cured. The model — Home Again—provides choice-based, inclusive living spaces through clustered or scattered homes in rural or urban neighbourhoods with a range of supportive services for people with persistent mental health issues living long term in institutions.
S Parasuraman, director, TISS, said: “On one hand, mental health institutions in the country are overburdened and on the other, women, in particular, at institutions find it difficult to integrate in the society when they have been treated.” The Home Again initiative is aimed at rehabilitating women in the society and providing skills training to them.
The programme will systematically strengthen mental health services across Kerala and Maharashtra by liaising with a diverse range of partners, and offering capacity building to embed micro-elements of mental health care. A group of three to five women, who have been treated and declared fit to return home, are provided a shelter and are encouraged to live a self-sustained life with a dedicated group of experts supporting them.
Women who do not have homes or families to return to are facilitated with diverse inclusive living options such as working women’s hostels and are provided job placements, according to Parasuraman. “The programme is anchored by a multidisciplinary team embedded in an ethos of promoting personal recovery. The majority of the team is non-specialist personal assistants who offer a range of personalised support services aimed at promoting agency, and self-expression, and achieving a state of wellbeing,” Parasuraman said.
He added that the programme will help debunk myths about mental health and prevent people from being pushed into poverty. “By ensuring appropriate and accessible clinical and social care support, this programme has the potential to break the unyielding homelessness —poverty — mental ill health nexus,” Parasuraman added.