BPA coordinates business links with NIMH

Workers at Paper factory

‘Mental health’ properly describes a sense of well-being: the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles which life presents. Enhancing this health in the patients at NIMH, Business for Peace and Allianz (BPA) with the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) organized a programme to make the organizations and media aware of their new projects, recently.

Along with many other organizations and enterprises NIMH has started many projects supporting those who become eligible to work. The new Horticulture project which is a partnership between BasicNeeds Sri Lanka and NIMH, Angoda.

There are more than 2000 of institutionalized destitute mentally ill people stranded in the mental hospitals and long-term rehabilitation units in Sri Lanka. Though treatment of these mentally ill people has been completed , they are living in hospital wards because they have no home to go due to the total neglect of family members. Out of these, around 1000 are living in NIMH Angoda which is the largest Mental Hospital in Sri Lanka.

The main Purpose of the project focussed as stigmatized mentally ill people in mental hospitals and long-term rehabilitation units in Sri Lanka are able to gain social recognition as productive citizens. With their products they participate at trade exhibitions in Colombo and other areas. Handicraft products are presently sold out in Lady J outlets. Also according to authorities of Lady J, the goods are of a good quality and NIMH have received no complaints up to now pertaining to their handicrafts.

Some patients who are eligible to employ themselves are presently working at Ceylon paper Sacks and Roshan Jayasinghe, General Manager noted that they are supporting those people to be more sociable.

According to statistics 72 are working with employers and 56 returned to families.

The pilot project has shown that HT is a proven means of rehabilitating people with a mental illness. The Feasibility Study recommends:Setting up a commercial project on the 4 acre site employing rehabilitated/discharged consumers as resource persons, seting up a training and resource centre, extending the programme to other centres throughout the island etc. Here the main objective is to provide a hands-on experience of livelihood options to 600 mentally ill people as a part of rehabilitation, promote the social reintegration of mentally ill people in mental hospitals into their communities, promote sustainability and self reliance of the horticultural therapy centre by the end of the three year project etc.

Dr. Mendis, Director of Angoda and Mulleriyawa Mental Hospitals, said he was very happy to mention that their efforts were recognized and was rewarded by National Quality Awards 2008.

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