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Alternatives in community mental health: defining the contours of non-formal care in western India

Dr Sumeet Jain

Funder: Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland (Small Research Grants)

Collaborator: Dr. Bhargavi Davar, Centre for Advocacy in Mental Health, Bapu Trust, Pune, India

Summary of project:

The aim of this project is to develop a research collaboration with the Centre for Advocacy in Mental Health (CAMH), in Pune, India, examining the role of non-formal care systems in community mental health services in western India. This issue is important in the context of a global push towards standardization of mental health interventions. This constrains the ability of local systems to respond to the particularities of communities and discourages innovation and use of local capacities. The CAMH community mental health programme emphasizes a range of non-formal care and aims to respond to the specific histories and circumstances of communities. The programme provides a unique opportunity to explore the potential for alternative approaches to community mental health. The applicant will analyse existing CAMH data, undertake a short field trip to Pune, India to conduct interviews with non-formal carers and observe the programme, prepare an academic paper analysing the workings of CAMH’s community mental health programme and a full research grant application exploring the nature of non-formal community based care in the CAMH programme. The project will make an important contribution to debates around global mental health by providing data that challenges the global standardization of mental health interventions. This will have significant policy implications for the development of culturally and locally appropriate mental health services in India and other low and middle-income countries.

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