Arjunbhai is a 35-year-old man and the father of three children who showed signs two years ago suggestive of schizophrenia. He stopped talking to his family, lost his appetite, stopped going to work at the local school, was seen speaking to himself, and ran around outside aimlessly. His father took him first to a faith healer, which led to little improvement at first, but the symptoms returned after a few days. After taking Arjunbhai to multiple different faith healers, spending money that was borrowed from neighbours, and seeing no significant improvement, his father began to lose hope.
The family attended an educational session in their village organized by MINDS and spoke with us afterwards. This has led to Arjunbhai receiving ongoing medical and therapeutic treatment that has led to considerable improvement in his symptoms. He is now able to work on the farm and take care of animals. He now eats well, is able to play with his children, and has resumed speaking with his family and neighbours. Arjunbhai and his father are very happy about the treatment that he is receiving and would recommend it to others who suffer from similar symptoms.
The MINDS Foundation, a nonprofit located in India, uses a grassroots approach to eliminate stigma and provide educational, medical, and moral support for patients with mental illness in rural India. The organization conducts ongoing research and develops curriculum to expand education about mental health and increase the number of trained staff who can support patients suffering from mental illness. Since its creation in 2010, MINDS has increased the level of education and treatment with regards to mental illness, overcoming many of the challenges of rural health work in India.