Jan Man Swasthya

Since March 2013, Parivartan has been working on an ambitious project – Jan Man Swasthya, which aims to develop community based services in rural areas of India in various geographical locations.

The programme focuses on five priority mental disorders –
• Common disorders: Depression, anxiety etc.
• Epilepsy
• Alcohol use disorder
• Suicide prevention
• Intellectual disability (mental retardation)
Jan Man Swasthya basically intends to address the overall mental health issues by providing mental health services woven around existing governmental health services rather than creating a parallel structure. Also, the project was conceived with the consideration of covering different locations in India because with the geographical and cultural diversity, different models of community based care could be developed. Such models would then provide guidelines for policy level intervention. For effective resolution of different kinds of mental illnesses, the programme has adopted ‘Stepped Care Approach’ which involves three nodes –
• Non specialized community based services
• Primary care services
• Specialist services

For minor mental health issues with mild symptoms, people can rely on community health workers through non specialized community care services. This involves screening the patients and providing counseling. If it does not help, help is sought from general practitioners or primary health centers. Lastly, specialist services are provided. Critically unwell people are taken directly to the specialist. With this approach, it is ensured that services are provided based on the nature of the problem. Specialized psychiatric services are a valuable and finite resource and India does not have a large pool of psychiatrists. Hence it becomes crucial to ensure that services that are less in quantity are reserved for the ones who need them the most.

Jan Man Swasthya is currently being run at six different centers across India. Parivartan, Satara is the host of this programme. Each center has a mentor who is a psychiatrist providing all the necessary support. The working team at each center includes programme co-ordinator, intervention facilitators, community health workers and data manager. All the six centers are already working on a variety of health issues and as a part of Jan Man Swasthya, mental health care services are also being provided.

Jan Man Swashtya Centers –
• Parivartan (Satara, Maharashtra)
• Action North East Trust (Kokrajhar, Assam)
• Ashadeep (Guwahati, Assam)
• Janchetana Manch (Bokaro, Jharkhand)
• Ramkrishna Mission (Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh)
• Foundation for research in community health (Valha, Maharashtra)
With Jan Man Swasthya, Parivartan wishes to connect to the minds of the masses in order to create a framework of structured help. We believe that in the years to come, efforts and results by Jan Man Swasthya would prove to be instrumental in reassessing the policy measures towards mental health in India.

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