Institute of Mental Health residents all set to put baked goodies on sale

Initiative geared towards reintegrating them into society

From baking and supplying fresh loaves of bread for patients of a government hospital, a group of residents of the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) will soon bake cakes, cookies, doughnuts and varieties of bread, and put them on sale at a café to be set up on the premises of the institute’s Outpatient Department (OPD) building in Ayanavaram.

Collaborating with restaurateur M. Mahadevan, founder of Hot Breads Bakery, the IMH is all set to take the next step for its residents, who have improved with treatment. As a part of occupational therapy, a group of five to six residents are already involved in baking bread at a bakery on the premises.

“As of now, we are supplying bread to the Government Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) Hospital. Mr. Mahadevan had trained some of our residents in baking bread. Now, our residents will start baking varieties of breads, cookies and so on. This will be sold on the OPD premises,” P. Poorna Chandrika, director, said.

The aim was to help in reintegrating residents into the society, she said, adding: “Due to the mental illness, they lose employment and self-confidence. To reintegrate them into society, they need to gain self-confidence. Making them self-sufficient and giving them employment helps them to gain confidence. This will also reduce the stigma,” she added.

Mr. Mahadevan said they had trained five to six residents in producing bread. “The supply has been limited to the KMC. We want to set up a café with three containers and install two to three machines at the existing bakery. We want to increase the product range, offering European and south Indian snacks at reasonable prices,” he said.

Already, five residents were trained on the service side for Writer’s Café, he said, adding: “We will take more people for the service side, and also for the production side. More products will bring more revenue for IMH which will be ploughed back into the residents’ welfare.”

Mr. Mahadevan has also launched the brand ‘Freedom’ along with Puzhal Prison, ‘Winners’ bakery with the Greater Chennai Corporation and Give Life (Loyola College). Explaining the idea behind the initiatives, he said, “It is a sustainable charity project as we donate machines and the revenue generated pays for the running of the unit and excess of income over expenditure goes to the community cause,” he said.

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