Reaching out to those with mental illness and leading them to a fulfilled life beyond.
A symbol of shelter, support and hope.
And the voice of those who are mentally ill - "I exist, therefore I am," The Banyan is India's largest grass root non-profit organization - “for the destitute and mentally “ill", that has been successfully rehabilitating, empowering and reuniting the mentally ill with their families.
For over a decade, The Banyan has been synonymous with the promotion of good mental health, management of mental illness and ongoing improvement in the care and treatment of the mentally ill through advocacy, education, referral, research, legislative input and rehabilitation. Effectively battling the stigma associated with any form of mental or emotional illness people face in the course of their lives, The Banyan has provided the road map to recovery and acceptance for many to whom it has reached out and rehabilitated.
There's a lot you can read and learn about this institution, their centers, their projects and activities on the web.
But what you have to see and believe is the quality of life the women lead at The Banyan because every activity here is a direct and heartfelt response in caring for the mentally ill.
The various projects undertaken by The Banyan include:
Adaikalam - Transit-care centre for women rescued from the streets.
Community Mental Health Project - Urban and rural mental health services.
Community Living Project - A solution for clients requiring long term care.
The Banyan Enterprise - Run by clients these are businesses that provide employment and income.
The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM) - Networking and increasing stakeholders in the sector through education and training .
Mental illness is interactive. It is the result of relationships between one person and that
person's significant others.
The Banyan Therapy is non-judgmental and non-threatening. At the end of the day, every person is enabled, feels needed, capable and successful.There is a definite gain in the sense of self-worth and self-esteem and it eventually connects the person to the real world. Every activity here stands testimony to this fact.
Adaikalam (meaning refuge) for example, is a Project through which The Banyan has reached out to more than 600 mentally unstable women found wandering on the streets of Chennai. Over 400 women have already been successfully rehabilitated / reunited with their families and now lead better lives outside The Banyan.
Their Community Living Project at Kovalam, is all about rediscovering life. Here the women are divided into houses- small family units grouped according to their ages.Each family is given responsibilities to fulfill and they actually do it, as a part of their therapy.You also find women doing something mundane and routine, like sticking leaves to a paper-a therapeutic effect that eventually nurtures the mind, body and spirit and enables renewal.
No tears.No apologies. Just happiness derived from each and every moment lived. A reason to live life, the way they can- The beauty of life with all its mortal flaws is celebrated here.
The Banyan is all about individualization and de-institutionalization of the mentally-ill.
And for those, who are still unable to adjust to the world outside, The Banyan welcomes them back home with open arms.
They say, "the difference between a helping hand and an outstretched palm is a twist of the wrist."
Nobody does it better than The Banyan.
The Banyan is currently looking for skilled volunteers at various levels.
The organization deals with multiple patient records and information besides large volumes of complex data. Given their scale of operations The Banyan finds it difficult to allot the time and effort to handle it.
The Organization welcomes volunteers who are skilled in data entry and can take up the task of preparing, recording and converting data like invoices, bills, payroll, and customer data base into accessible formats.
Volunteers with computer skills are preferred.
The Banyan is also looking for Doctors, medical professionals, qualified counsellors and psychotherapists who would be able to donate time in person for the inmates and handle OPD demands.
The Banyan Centers have a structured arts and crafts program and would be happy to have designers to help the inmates in their various activities.
Interested volunteers could contact CV with their skills, experience and availability to help us work out a schedule.
To know more about the volunteering requirements at this organization click here