ONE of the highest rates of suicide is amongst Indian housewives.
Often women feel isolated within the matrimonial home, where they are expected to stoically perform their duties as a wife, mother and daughter-in-law, sometimes at the expense of their own needs.
In recognition of this, Usha and Leah approached Nagpur’s Mental Hospital (NMH) Superintendent, Dr Gajbiye, for his support in tackling the ever-growing incidences of suicide amongst local women.
Women In Need’s first camp was held at Dalvi Memorial Hospital, close to the charity’s headquarters, with guest speakers Dr Gajbiye, Dr Abhisheik Marmade, Dr Maheshwari and Dr Madavi, all experienced psychiatrists working at NMH.
This initiative is the first of its kind in Vidarbha, the eastern region of Maharashtra, of which Nagpur is the largest city.
It is also a unique example of an NGO joining forces with local Government health services.
Women from nearby slums attended, receiving vital information on mental health issues, with an emphasis on suicide prevention and available treatment.
Persuading busy housewives, many of whom also work outside the home to attend such a program is often difficult.
WIN’s team conducted a house-to-house survey and questionnaire within the slums, one month prior to the camp.
This enabled us to identify vulnerable individuals and to encourage them and their families to access support through education and if necessary, treatment.
Similar camps will become a regular service for vulnerable women in Nagpur.
With over 447 slums to cover, WIN has a great challenge ahead.
Images: Superintendent of NMH Dr Gajbiye with his team of psychiatrists; Usha Patil hosts the program and introduces the panel to an audience of women from the city slums.