In an effort to be a mental health service rooted within the community, for the community, Hank Nunn Institute has been more than a psychotherapy clinic or a specialist service. Awareness and advocacy have been part of our approach to community mental health and are reflected in our series of community engagement events. There are several ongoing conversations about mental health, ‘illness’, ‘treatment’, madness and its genesis – Our community engagement programs are spaces where we encourage a dialogue across different points of view. These sessions have, over time, become a space for many people to think about the ways in which they relate to themselves, others and society, at large. The conversations have helped us think about the community’s needs and their expectations of mental health professionals, always keeping in mind that we have interacted with a small segment of a larger social, political, cultural body. Our intention, as it stands, is to create a reflective space where people can exchange thoughts and ideas, share their feelings, debate, be curious, experience something different together and leave with the group in their mind. In the near future, we hope to have several such events, facilitated by members of the community, running in each city where we have made home.
Nobody Reads The Fine Print
Nobody Reads the Fine Print was conceived of in the summer of 2017. It was born of a need to make people aware of our existence as a community mental health center. When we began, the name, aside from being a compelling concept, stood as a metaphor for the experience of an individual with a diagnosis of Personality Disorder – The emphasis remains on what’s overt; we see when someone ‘acts out’ or behaves in ways that are considered self-destructive or sabotaging but we find it much harder to consider the undercurrent. At the time, we wanted to draw attention to this oversight and the space has now become a monthly dialogue around the influence of the social, political and cultural undercurrent on our mental health.
Chailogue is a platform for individuals to engage in a discourse on mental health and wellbeing. It began as an initiative to encourage people to consider mental health as a continuum rather than something that switches between ‘health’ and ‘pathology’. The intent, as it still holds, was to create a space where people could exchange their thoughts on a theme relating to mental health without feeling restricted by conventional or clinical explanations and criteria. Everyone is welcome to voice their opinions and feelings and share their experiences in this setting that is much like the cup of chai we offer – Warm, unconditional and free. While the discussion is facilitated by us, we don’t presume to be experts or guides. At Chailogue, everyone is learning.
In its traditional sense, Chaupal is a space owned, run and maintained by the community. They are public spaces in the villages of North India (and Pakistan) where people gather to spend time together, think, share, debate and take decisions about the community’s welfare. HNI Jaipur’s community engagement builds on this ideology in an effort to encourage conversations around mental health. Chaupal began in 2018 with the aim to involve the community in an open dialogue on mental health – A facilitated space where people could spend time together sharing, thinking about and questioning the conventional views on mental health. Since its inception, Chaupal has been hosted in different parts of Rajasthan in collaboration with organizations like TOSS, Contree, Jaipur Mera Shehar, Awaaz Studio, Children’s Film Society India, India Heritage Walks, Sofia College and Eminent College.