FAQs with Psychologist Dr. Ishita Sanyal on Mental Health Awareness
Dr. Ishita Sanyal’s life completely changed when she learned that a loved one was believed to have the most dreaded mental illness, schizophrenia. As a psychologist, she felt helpless to improve the quality of life for the affected individual or the parents. Neither medication nor counseling could provide what is most needed in such cases – which are -rehabilitation, learning life skills, social interaction, and communication.
And at this point of her life, TURNING POINT was born!
Turning Point is a voluntary Non Governmental Organization engaged in Mental Rehabilitation in a Day-Care Center. The principal aim is to rehabilitate the mentally challenged persons in the society and to fight against the stigma of “ mad” or “Pagal” associated with mental health, which severely criticizes a person who is but only mentally sick and can recover easily.
We had the good fortune of interviewing Psychologist Dr. Ishita Sanyal and here is what she has to say about mental illness and ways to cope with it!
Qs. How can the mentally ill be rehabilitated back to normal existence?
The mentally ill find themselves isolated from the society – sometimes even parental support is lacking and thus they start to suffer from utter dejection & unworthiness.
So the very first thing required to heal such kind of individuals is to make them feel acceptable, make them forget their trauma of seclusion & discrimination & enjoy the pleasure of preoccupation and engagement.
With meticulous counseling – that may be one to one or group therapies and counselling, they gradually regain their lost confidence and agree to face the society again.
Through interpersonal guidelines, as the patient develops the expectations of normal life, he is restored to the mainstream of life so that he can earn & become self dependent & confident.
Qs.What are the different approaches of a rehabilitation procedure?
The Rehabilitation can be broadly classified into two types:
Social Rehabilitation and Financial or Economic Rehabilitation
Social Rehabilitation is designed to improve his communication, attention, concentration, reaction time, attitudes & behavioral practices for his efficiency in the society.
This not only involves the patients into Group/Individual Therapy Techniques, but also in Role-Modeling, Debates, Art, Music-Therapy, Problem Solving Sessions, Games and Techniques to Improve Attention & Communication Skills.
Social Rehabilitation focusses to restore confidence into the mentally sick individual and motivate him with proper Social Skills & Communication Skills.
In Economic Rehabilitation, the patient is introduced to Model Job-Interviews, Competitive Knowledge, Computer Certificate Courses, other skills development so that he is restored back to the mainstream of life with self-supported earning.
People with special abilities, like Art or Writing, Music or Dance are encouraged to jobs involving these traits.
Handicrafts Training can be given regularly with individual attention to the ability of the beneficiaries.
Qs.What is the role of social factors i.e the role of society & community in the recovery of person suffering from Mental Illness?
Ignorance of the commonness and liability of mental illness effects in discrimination of a mentally ill person in job aspects, marriage, acceptance of the person ‘s human qualities, rejection in trust as a human being.
Since not many people are aware of this stigma and its consequences, a lot of media generated awareness is required so that together we can curb this social stigma!
Turning Point takes special measure to provide extensive awareness on :
- What is mental illness?
- How can it be identified?
- What are the preventive measures?
- What can be the various care giving techniques?
This covers elaborate awareness campaigns and seminars in professional and non-professional areas as well as academic institutions, clubs, philanthropic organizations, factories, government enterprises and reaching out far and wide to remotest of villages.
Qs.How can we eradicate the stigma attached to mental health?
The stigma of ‘mad’ attached to mental problems is still a persisting nomenclature. It is not only through Turning Point’s serious awareness programs and rehabilitation, but exposing the talents of these beneficiaries through press and media, cultural programs, sports and by helping them earn readily through various means also help remove stigma to a promising extent and acquire abilities of effective communication, assertiveness and become confident.
Winding up the interview, here is what Dr. Sanyal finally has to say on this matter:
‘General Treatment Is Not The Ultimate’
Bearing all the outcomes of rehabilitation, awareness & motivation, Ishita Sanyal still has one singular & unique idea to the solutions of stigma, seclusion & discrimination. She aims at formation of a Free Society establishing mutual business-like agreements with various enterprises / multinationals who in turn would financially profit from their investments by incorporating Turning Point beneficiaries yield money for the investors themselves, the mentally challenged servicemen & Turning Point as well.
As joblessness is a crucial crisis in mental discrimination, Dr. Ishita believes that if contributors / investors support her idea, production & money can be yielded from the mentally challenged & terms of profit could be shared between the contributors, workers & Turning Point.