The article highlighiting Chhahari’s work has been published recently in the local newspaper where we have tried to highlight the debate of mental health in Nepal which is all centred on a medical approach. This is what the socio-medical model aporoach is attempting to change, not just in Nepal but internationally as well. Even veteran psychiatrists across the globe have been urging to focus more on the social conditions that contribute to or escalate mental ailments.
Case Study of our client highlightining socio-medical model : Suresh Khadgi, 33, of Patan, Nepal has a long struggle with his mental illness began 15 years ago when he suddenly started hearing noises ringing in his ear, sometimes it would be a loud shriek, at other times just loud, indecipherable rumblings. Khadgi would run towards the noise but he couldn’t ever figure out its source, and would often get lost for days scouring the neighbourhood and the larger city. Disorienting and persistent as the noises were, he did not believe his family and peers when they said that he was the only one hearing them.
By the time doctors diagnosed him with schizophrenia, Khadgi had all but fallen through his many safety nets. If the community had once sympathised with the “boy who heard noises”, as Khadgi’s illness progressively worsened, he was often beaten up for causing a ruckus, while even small kids in the neighbourhood made up games where they would try and scare him by catching him off guard. At the time, even medications had failed to bring him back from the brink. But, today, things are slowly changing, thanks to his mother who refused to give up on her son. Khadgi now lives with his parents and has constant follow ups with doctors.
Our team regularly meet up with his parents every week to discuss the various issues regarding Khadgi’s health and his progress. His mother, Keshari, drawing from her experience in dealing with her son, is now also an active advocate of caring the mentally ill patients through a two-pronged approach where social rehabilitation supplements the administering of medicine. Many mental problems stem from social issues and this should be dealt with accordingly. Instead of ostracising them, a shared bonding with family members and their reconnection with the society goes a long way. We have felt the difference.
It is a paradigm shift that has been a blessing for Suresh Khadgi and his family. After years of investing in purely medical treatments to Khadgi’s schizophrenia, without significant results, their involvement with us and a switch to a socio-medical approach, Keshari admits, has been a game changer. “Things are not normal, far from it,” says Keshari, “But Suresh has made such progress. If once many thought that he was a lost cause, today, we at least have reason to hope. Just that in itself is a big leap forward.” Suresh attends our support center everyweek.
The website for the featured article: