‘Compassion essential to handle mental illness’

The Banyan, an NGO working in the area of mental health, celebrated its 25th anniversary on Saturday, along with its partners, supporters and well-wishers.

At the event, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said though the State government had formulated schemes in handling people with mental illnesses, working with compassion towards those affected gave more results to the efforts.

Panel discussion

The evening started with a panel discussion led by The Hindu Group chairman N. Ram with psychiatrists Alok Sarin and Sanjeev Jain on their book ‘The Psychological Impact of Partition on India,’ an anthology that explores the cataclysmic event through medical and psychiatric perspectives. They briefly discussed the core of the book — the need for a better understanding of those with mental illnesses in the context of their socio-cultural identities and roots.

Those who shared their personal experiences included Akhileshwar Sahay, a mental health activist, and Porselvi, a health care worker at The Banyan. The guest list included film director Mani Ratnam, actors Revathy, Shobana and Shruti Haasan, former director of TISS Parasuraman, National Director for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in India Nachiket Mor and CEO of the HANS Foundation Lt. General (Retd.) S.M. Mehta.

Music performance

The event was hosted by Ranvir Shah, founder-trustee of the Prakriti Foundation, along with Ms. Revathy. To conclude the events, there was a performance by Ms. Haasan and her band.

The Banyan, which was started in 1993 out of a small apartment in Mogappair, now operates in three southern States.

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