INCENSE (Program for Inclusion and empowerment of people with severe mental disorders)

Parivartan has been working on INCENSE, an inspiring project targeted at systematically developing and implementing a framework for an integrated community based approach for vulnerable persons with severe mental disorders. The project is operative in two of the largest and oldest mental hospitals in India – one in Pune, Maharashtra and the other in Tezpur, Assam.

The prime objectives of the project are –
• To develop an effective coalition of partners, from various sectors, at both sites (Pune and Tezpur) for implementing the program with increasing local ownership
• To carry out a systematic situation analysis, involving a wide and representative range of stakeholders, to determine the needs and available resources of vulnerable people with severe mental disorders
• To develop a comprehensive package of social and clinical interventions based on scientific evidence and the findings of the situation analysis
• To implement and evaluate the feasibility and impact of the interventions

Parivartan is working closely with Pune’s Yerawada mental hospital. The major aspect of the project includes working with three broad categories of patients –
‘Long Stay’ patients: This includes around 200 patients staying in the Yerawada mental hospital for more than one year. Various life skills are imparted to these patients and training is given on cleanliness and other routine habits. They are also trained in skills like making paper products, imitation jewelry and clay molding. Efforts have been made for farming based rehabilitation as majority of patients are from farming background and major resource in terms of land is readily available. The efforts have paid well and to develop and strengthen this activity, a full time farming consultant has been appointed.
Community based rehabilitation: Psychosocial rehabilitation remains unmet for patients in the community resulting into frequent readmissions. To address this issue, community based rehabilitation process is undertaken which involves interacting with the recently discharged patients and patients at OPD. Information is extended to them on variety of topics including important issue of relapse management. Currently Parivartan is working with 56 such patients. The results have been satisfactory mainly in terms of preventing relapse, sustaining jobs and exploring employment options.
Homeless persons with mental illness: In this critical category, information about homeless people with mental illness is collected from shopkeepers, local residents and once such people are found, rapport building begins. Food and clothing is offered to them and search for their address, relatives is undertaken. List of the symptoms is prepared and need for treatment is communicated to the person. If address is not traceable, request is made to the police to admit the concerned person in mental hospital through court (in accordance with the Mental Health Act 1987).

Livelihood and job placements
Towards the end of the treatment, patients from all the above categories are supported with the efforts required to obtain a livelihood resource. So far we have been able to place the patients in various jobs like housekeeping, gardening, office assistance and the likes.

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