Introduction: MHAT offers a unique internship program for students pursuing courses in Psychology, Social work as well as MPhil. In addition to academic sessions, the program provides the opportunity to work in the community with actual patients, to create care plans, to reflect on learnings in the context of real-life scenarios and much more. (This program is suitable for MSW students who have to compulsorily fulfil the requirement of block placement at the end of their course from an organization that deals with their area of specialization)
Psychology and Social Work Programs: MHAT offers internship programs in both of the disciplines of psychology as well as Social Work. There are overlapping areas the two internship programs. One of the primary differences for psychology internship program is an added orientation to a range of tests including IQ Tests, Neuro Cognitive and Psychometric, as a part of the program. As possible students from over lapping sections undergo classes together. This paves the way for cross discipline education
Online Mode: Traditionally students from Kerala, as well as other parts of India, have been attending the program. However, presently MHAT is offering the option of an online internship program for students who are IT savvy/not able to travel to MHAT/who are ok with doing an Online Internship Program.
(Please note that a totally online internship is not yet available however is underway. Further, usually an internship program without actual community engagement is less effective, from and academic perspective, than a blended internship program – one that includes online sessions as well as actual work in the community)
Duration: Duration options include 15 Days, 1 Month and 3-months programs. These are defined by various criteria including institutional objectives, individual aspirations as well as constraints of travel and time.
(It may be noted that most students prefer the 15 day or 1-month program, as opposed to the three-month program, on account of time and travel. However, the three-month program offers students much deeper immersion in community engagements and thereby learning. Irrespective of these, students of all programs – except the exclusive online program (which is underway) will engage in field work for about 2 days a week, and during the remaining days they will have formal and supervised academic sessions at the MHAT institute
Season: Usually the internship program runs all through the year, however the influx of students is more usually during March, April and May. This is on account of various reasons mostly related to freedom from other pressing academic commitments. However, you may choose a time of the year convenient to you for doing the program.
Setting Objectives: Students each have are assigned a fieldwork supervisor who engages in setting learning goals and objectives for the program. This is takes into consideration the standard induction program objectives defined by MHAT plus requirements of the institution and the intern’s aspirations.
Customization and Schedule Preparation: Based on the objectives defined in consultation with the field work supervisor, a schedule is prepared which will deliver the learning goals and objectives defined for the internship program for the intern/s
OP Reviews: During clinic visits, interns get to interact with their assigned clinicians freely during the pause between outpatient sessions. During these interim periods between seeing clients, they get their concerns addressed on a real time basis. Clinicians on their part, point to aspects in the clients review where there is an opportunity for learning for interns and trigger conversations to inspire insight. Sometimes additional assignments or “topic- discussion” tasks are given to the intern.
Psychotherapy Meeting: This activity involves attending psychotherapy sessions at the Centre for Psychotherapy and presenting the therapy plan.
On Job Training:
- Clinic Visits
- Clinical Review Introduction
- Reviewing and Interpreting Case History
- Questioning and Listening for new issues
- Peer Supported Assignments
- Topic Presentations
- Casework: Interns take an actual case pertaining to a client (from the community) and based on casework methodology they work and learn from the case.
- Group work: Interns learn and engage in group-based interventions that are occurring in the community such as Family Support Group. This work may involve volunteers or family members of clients
- Community Organization: Using the community organization methodology interns facilitate a program in the community such as awareness programs, educational sessions and other training programs
- Project Evaluation: Students evaluate any one project in the organization they are posted during the course of their internship
Psycho-social Rehabilitation: This activity may include Periodic functional assessment of day care patients, leading family support groups, conducting volunteers’ training program and conduct classes for non-professional rehabilitation coordinators. Supervision is a key aspect of all of these activities.
Mini Research Projects are sometimes given based on discussion with the research supervisor, to gain knowledge in concerned area
Presentations: Interns would be expected to compile 3 to 5 complete case work and present the same
Program Structure: The includes a mix of academic sessions as well as field work based in the community. Guidance and supervision are offered at all levels including the community facing activities. The field work will include home visit, day care and outpatient reviews (at this point this part of the internship program has not yet been digitized, but digitizing this in in MAHT’s digitization roadmap)
Clinic Visits: Clinic visits are critical part of the program and they offer exposure to the task sharing model of MHAT. Some community clinics are extensions of palliative care units and others of government hospitals and NGOs. Clinics are informed about the intern’s arrival and purpose beforehand. Upon arrival at the clinic, the intern gets to interact and learn about the history of the specific clinic as well as its functions and activities from key community leaders.
Topic Discussion: The intern researches the subject and shares their learning with the clinician during ensuing visits, also making a point to seek clarity over areas they are not clear about. Interns may also be given assignments to deepen their understanding about other areas of mental health such as policies and initiatives by government etc. Since these subjects are a part of their university syllabus, these sessions serve to further reinforce what interns learn in their university course.
Academic Sessions: The academic sessions include synchronous and asynchronous online learning and classroom sessions at the MAHT Institute. The sessions include the following modules
- Intro to MHAT
- MHAT Model
- Introduction to community psychiatry
- Task sharing Model
- Roles of Psychiatrists, Clinicians, MHWs and Volunteers in Community Psychiatry
- Details of Community Clinics
- Mental Disorders
- Client Case Review
- Psychosocial interventions
Investment: The cost for the 30-Day internship program is. Rs.3500 and covers exclusively the academic experiences. It doesn’t cost of travel or stay.
Payment Terms: Payment is done upfront after filling the admission form. MHAT accepts instalment payments to students who have a difficulty to pay in one go.
Travel and Stay: MHAT’S core work being in community psychiatry the internship process is essentially community-based. Therefore, travel is an intrinsic part of the program. Hence, interns are requested to take note that they are to be prepare for travel. Also, while they will receive advise and support, however arrangement for stay and transport are to be made by themselves and these costs are not covered in the aforesaid investment for the program.
Feedbacks: Feedbacks have not been in place yet. But are being prepared based on if needs have been met, reaction to the program, what needs to be improved etc
Tracking Progress: Students have a schedule drawn that they are to follow. Further a logbook/register is issued in which all academic activities are to be recorded. The Field Work Supervisor checks these records and verifies everything is being done aligned with the objectives. Further the remaining tasks are reviewed and adjusted to meet with the goals of the course the intern is doing. Also, the interventions introduced by the intern (awareness sessions for care givers etc. as well as other community-based initiatives) are also evaluated and recorded. The logbook offers the provision for capturing weekly activity, progress and reviews from supervisors thereby enabling continuous evaluation. The evaluation areas were taken from already existing continuous evaluation formats of Rehabilitation Council of India recognized training institutions
Counselling Skills Intro Course (Coming Soon)
This MHAT Saarathi certified Counselling Skills course will give you a sound grounding in the fundamentals of counselling including. The course will cover the skills involved in counselling and expose the learner to a few real-life case studies.
Counselling Skills Advanced Course (Coming Soon)
This MHAT Saarathi Certified Counselling Skills course will teach you various approaches that have historically been taken to counselling. These approaches will include existential, rational emotive, person-centred perspectives, plus more.
Mental Health for the Aged Course (Coming Soon)
This MHAT Saarathi certified course will offer you key insights about the specific mental health challenges the elderly face. It will also give you a grounding in assessment, diagnosis and care for the aged.
Adolescents Mental Health Course (Coming Soon)
In this MHAT Saarathi certified course, you will learn all about the mental health challenges faced by young individuals and how to deal with them. You will also learn how to assess and support them.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Course (Coming Soon)
In this MHAT Saarathi Certified course on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, you will learn and practice specific strategies to counselling based on the CBT principles.
MHAT Community Psychiatry Course (Coming Soon)
In this course, you will learn about the innovation of Community Psychiatry introduced and successfully practised by MHAT in delivering recovery-oriented mental health care to the poorest of the poor from the community.
Counselling skills for Relationships (Coming Soon)
People in relationships face a lot of conflicts. Timely and appropriate interventions can save the relationship and bring peace to the people involved as well as their families. This course will teach you the specific dynamics of relationships as well as how to effectively conduct counselling sessions in the context of relationships
In recent times, the necessity of a public health approach to mental health has gained significance. Mental health research and advocacy suggests that bridging the gap in providing mental health-care, especially in low-income and developing countries, requires a greater role for society. In India, the shortage of mental health professionals and facilities has led to family members becoming caregivers for their loved ones suffering from mental illness. The burden of care and stigma attached to mental illness serves as a double setback for families already mired in poverty. Our mission is to help people with mental illness access psychiatric care and treatment without stigma, prejudice, and economic barriers. By building a model of mental healthcare centered within the community, we help affected individuals and families rebuild their lives, improve their ties with the community, and reintegrate into the larger society.
MeHelp Research Program
Exploring Mental Health Through Theatre
Based in Kerala, and aiming to spread public awareness on mental health literacy with the help of theatre, Project MeHeLP INDIA will explore stories of people accessing mental health support and their families to promote public understanding about living with mental illness. Our project partners include: De Montfort University; Loughborough University; University College London; Tata Institute of Social Sciences; the National Institute of Mental Health & Neuroscience; King’s College London; Middlesex University; Excavate Theatre; Lokadharmi Theatre. The project is funded by the UK Global Challenges Research Fund and the Economic & Social Research Council.
For more details, Click Here
Community Psychiatry – Transcontinental Lessons of the Last Quarter Century
T. Manoj Kumar Clinical Director, Mental Health Action Trust, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
Fueled by the discovery of effective medications and the debilitative effects of psychiatric institutionalization and driven by the social winds of change, community psychiatry took shape all over the world. The gradual closure of asylums and the move to community signified not only a geographical shift, but also led to the development of a whole new raft of practices in delivering services in the community. Many of these have become mainstream practices elsewhere. After a promising start, initiatives in community psychiatry have stalled in India, with the lack of resources being the most obvious cause. For various reasons, the field of social psychiatry has also not been in the limelight as psychiatry shifted its focus to the possibilities held out by biological psychiatry.
This is unfortunate because the need for broader models is never more relevant than now, as social inequities continue to grow. Therefore, the time is ripe to look back over the developments in community psychiatry of the last quarter-century and search for relevance in the light of our current realities. What are the main developments and more importantly, can these be implemented in a cost‑effective manner in India? This article is a reflective attempt to argue for the feasibility of models using those principles but adapted for our social and economic realities. To read the entire work, please click the below icon:
MHAT - The evolution of a community mental health service
T. Manoj Kumar Clinical Director, Mental Health Action Trust, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
More than 10 years ago, I left my job in the NHS and life in the UK and along with friends, embarked on an adventure in community psychiatry which has evolved into a distinctive model of mental health care delivery for the underprivileged. The reach of our work has grown beyond our wildest imagination, reaching out to more than 4000 people with severe mental illnesses, all of whom are from the economically poorest sections of the society. We now have a presence in 8 districts of the Southern state of Kerala, India
through a network of 54 community partners, all of whom work with us in providing community mental health care. We started out with a simple question – is it possible to provide good quality, comprehensive, free mental health care to the poorest people with severe mental illnesses? The shortcomings of the existing services were clear – an underfunded and inadequate public psychiatric service and unaffordable private sector services. In both systems, the numbers of trained professionals were low and the treatment consisted mostly of medications alone. Provisions for psychosocial interventions and rehabilitation were lacking. To read the entire work, please click the below icon:
Community Mental Health: lessons from India
Mental Health Foundation podcast
Manoj Kumar, talks about his work in providing community mental health care for the poor people in the Indian state of Kerala. He talks about the success of his project and the importance of community buy-in, also offering lessons that the UK could take from the system. To listen to the podcast please Click Here
Evaluation of Community Mental Health Intervention - MHAT, Calicut, India
Sonja Brouwers, University of Amsterdam, Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences
The inadequacy of hospitalized mental health care in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) has led to the emergence of community mental health initiatives who aim to fill the treatment gap affecting mostly rural areas. In India, community-based mental health care has played a big role in providing basic mental health care to those most in need and relieving the burden on families as informal caregivers. One of these initiatives is Mental Health Action Trust (MHAT), who has been providing mental health care and rehabilitative services to the economically backward in several districts in northern Kerala.
The lack of reportage on mental health in LMICs calls for an evaluation of mental health models, as to contribute to knowledge on community based mental health care. The MHAT model was evaluated according to a new movement that has emerged from the West, focusing on the holistic recovery of mental health patients beyond symptom remission. This approach aims for mental health programs to incorporate norms, values and services that will facilitate the individual recovery process of the patient. While the principles of the approach are based on Western studies, they show correspondence with the aim of multiple community-based care services focusing on rehabilitation of people with mental health problems in LMICs. Current research into the recovery-oriented approach in LMICs is limited, sparking interest into the applicability of this approach in low socio-economic community-based settings, specifically rural India. To read the entire work, please click the below icon:
Exploring family resilience in a community mental health setup in South India
Hena Faqurudheen*, Sini Mathew, T. Manoj Kumar
The purpose of the study is to identify the socio-demographic characteristics and understand the level of family resilience of clients and their caregivers seeking treatment for mental illness within a community mental healthcare set-up. The sample consists of 60 respondents from impoverished urban and semi-urban families whose family members are currently undergoing treatment at the community mental health clinic run the Mental Health Action Trust (MHAT), a local NGO based in the northern
region of Kerala in South India. The methodology requires the participants to report the current symptom severity for their family members suffering from chronic mental illness, using the 18-item Brief Psychiatric Scale. They were then interviewed about how different aspects of family resilience applied to their own lived experiences as primary caregivers using Sixeby’s Family Resilience Scale based on Walsh’s conceptual framework of family resilience. The study is expected to contribute to understanding how families might be nurtured and strengthened using Walsh’s family resilience approach in an Indian cultural context. To read the entire work, please click the below icon:
- Introductory Course in Mental Health (2 Days): This is a program for anyone who seeks to have an orientation into Mental Health
- Short Term Training programme in Mental Health: This is the programme for graduate-level students, postgraduate level students and those who have completed a Masters in Psychology through distance education. The duration of training depends upon the requirement of the concerned university and students.
- One year full-time Training programme: This is a paid internship programme for those who have completed Masters Programme in Psychology / Social work.
In addition to the above MHAt also offers Courses in Community Mental Health the aim of which is to empower and strengthen the non-professional and professional workforces.
- Certificate course in Community Mental Health CCMH (Duration: 3 months, two classes per month followed by practical training)
- Certificate course in Recovery-Oriented Mental Health Services CROMH – This course is (Duration: 2 months with four Classes per month and practical training) (for those who have completed CCMH)
- Basic Course in psychosocial interventions-BCPI ( Duration: 3 months, 2 Classes in a month and practical training) (For those who completed CROMH)
- Certificate Course in counselling (Duration: 3 months, 2 Classes in a month and practical training. (For those who completed CROMH)
- Advanced Course in Psychosocial Interventions (Duration: 8 months, 2 Classes in a month and practical training. (For those who completed BCPI)
Note: All contributions and payments made by you will go towards providing recovery-oriented mental health care for the poorest of the poor. Donations are eligible for deduction under section 80 G of IT act 1961 vide C No. Tech-31/80G/25/ClT-CLT/2011-12 of the Commissioner of Income Tax, Calicut