SAATHI Ahmedabad

SAATHI is a registered NGO in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.  It was conceived and born as a self-help group that almost exclusively consists of life members, presently some 60 people who are family members of persons with mental illness and diagnosed with schizophrenia. It came into existence with the aim of working collectively through its members towards providing emotional and practical support to each other as caregivers of persons living with schizophrenia.

The group meets twice a month to update each other on their circumstances, exchange knowledge, learning and information, share their concerns, and discuss problems and the issues each one is facing.  This works towards changing the isolation that most caregivers feel, particularly under these circumstances. These meetings also serve to provide the opportunity to reiterate their solidarity and convey that they are all there to support and mitigate difficulties of each caregiver in the group.

Additionally, the meetings also provide the opportunity to talk about treatment that the care receivers are being given, medications and their related side effects on the mentally ill persons and how to overcome difficulties faced by the caregivers in managing the illness.

When necessary, problems that the group members face are discussed with psychiatrists and the outcomes of these discussions are conveyed to the members of the group.

In India, there is still stigma attached to mental illnesses. Family members who are caring for a relative with mental illness, like Schizophrenia, are fearful of being stigmatized and isolated from mainstream society.  Of late the Central Government has initiated some awareness programs to inform people about Mental Illness and the importance of starting early treatment of the illness.  But it is only the beginning of such initiatives, and it may take many years to remove the stigma attached to mental illness from our society.Stigma isolates caregivers even further. People continue to conceal mental illness in families, just to keep up an appearance of ‘normalcy’ in mainstream society. SAATHI however, do want more and more people who are caregivers of persons with schizophrenia or with other mental health challenges to come forward and join groups such as theirs, to share experiences and learning and to support each other.

Members of SAATHI can be contacted on the following telephone numbers.

1)Mr.Naishadh Shah, President, SAATHI
Mobile: 09824331219
Email: naishadhshah@yahoo.com

2)Mr.Kirit Pathak
Mobile: 09898771420