Rural Mental Health Program – Davangere’s District-Wide Rural Mental Health Program Achieves Self-Sustainability as Local Community Takes Charge
A collaborative rural mental healthcare program in Davangere, Karnataka, has attained self-sufficiency, illustrating the community’s critical involvement in defining the effectiveness of mental health interventions.
Working collaboratively with LLL’s partner APD and various stakeholders such as frontline ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) and Anganwadi workers, the district administration, and caregivers of PWMIs (Persons With Mental Illness) in the local community enabled self-sustainability.
Anisha Padukone, CEO of LiveLoveLaugh, elaborated on the program’s success, saying, “LiveLoveLaugh partnered with APD to kick-start the Community Mental Health Program (CMHP) in Davangere in 2016 using a holistic approach centered on three key elements: Awareness, Accessibility, and Affordability.” The community has made significant strides in expanding mental health support across the district through a strategic combination of activities such as street plays, wall paintings, consistent training for frontline workers in mental health care, treatment access, livelihood support, and connecting beneficiaries to government schemes. We are thrilled that over the previous seven years, we have given the community the ability to manage the program autonomously.”
Rural Mental Health Program
Scale and Expansion: After beginning with two taluks in Davangere, the program has grown to include six taluks in the previous seven years.
Treatment expenditures were reduced from INR 3,000 – 4,000 per month to nothing as a result of free treatment and medicines supplied as part of the intervention.
ASHA Worker Support: The Community Mental Health Program is actively supported by 104 of Davangere’s 170 ASHAs.
Tele-Medicine Support: The hybrid model that was launched during the pandemic to provide home delivery of medication to Persons with Mental Illness, in addition to psychiatric facilities and medicines at PHCs, is still in place today.
Building Capacity: LLL has facilitated cross-learning by leveraging the experience of all partners to continuously strengthen the program model.
Volunteer Support: Each of the six taluks has one community leader working full-time to administer the CMHP program.
Anisha also mentioned that a key component of the program in Davangere was prioritizing caregivers by providing them with training to improve their caregiving abilities, address their own health needs, assist them in becoming financially independent, and understanding their rights and means of accessing benefits through government schemes to support their families. Caregivers were also given aid in starting their own businesses to sustain themselves.
Aside from Davangere, the rural program spread of LiveLoveLaugh includes Gulbarga, Belagavi, and Bidar in Karnataka; Theni and Thiruvallur in Tamil Nadu; Idukki in Kerala; Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, Kangra in Himachal Pradesh, and Koraput and Puri in Odisha. In these six states, 4314 people with mental illnesses (PWMIs) have been treated, 13,005 caregivers have been helped, and 21,079 community leaders and 3598 ASHAs have been trained.
The rural program of LiveLoveLaugh strives to support people with mental illnesses and their caregivers through an integrated and sustainable form of mental healthcare delivery. Various stakeholder groups are developed and trained to support communities using a properly planned framework. These support groups, which include ASHA workers, community volunteers, and caregivers, are prepared to become advocates for mental health awareness. ASHA employees are also taught to recognize and support people suffering from mental illnesses. All stakeholders are given the authority to expand the program’s reach and effectiveness in the communities. LLL’s community mental health program has grown into a self-sustaining model driven by community ownership and empowerment to provide mental health support as support groups become proficient and self-reliant over time.