“ I am extremely pleased to see MGICMH, which started few years ago as a non-profit organization by Dr. Khaleel in Guntur, is helping people of Guntur District and has evolved into a premier institution for the purpose it was intended to. Congratulations to Dr. Khaleel and his team of people for their dedication, commitment and hard work.
Treatment of mental illness is usually by medicines only in most places in India where as in western world it involves a multimodal comprehensive team approach including psychotherapy, social therapy, rehabilitation and occupational therapies which are very essential.
There is great need for these services all over the country and Guntur and surrounding areas are so fortunate to have a facility like this. MGICMH is the only institution, that I know of, that is providing not only these services but also has pioneered in the management of addictions services for smoking, alcohol and other drugs.
I visited this organization 3 times so far. I was glad to meet several of the patients who got benefited from these services and became productive members of the society.
I also know of the several programs that were in done in schools and educate the children about the ill effects of smoking, alcohol etc and also management of stress especially at the times of examinations. These I believe are excellent preventive services just like vaccinations to prevent illnesses. The programs should be encouraged and sponsored by all which will have tremendous impact in the future of children and the society.
I wish and encourage the Governmental and non-governmental organizations support this institution so they can expand their services.
I am also extremely pleased to see the MGICMH has embarked on a new frontier of helping to set up services for care and support for the elderly parents of NRIS, who have left the country and have difficulty to help their parents back home. There is a great need for this kind of service and I hope NRIs will make use of these services and I am grateful for the services that the institute is providing for my parents and strongly encourage others who have similar needs” – Dr Ravi Tripuraneni, Redding, California, USA.
” I visited this mental healthcare centre recently in August 2014 and was amazed to see the dedicated services it is providing to the needy individuals in and around Guntur District and also from the other parts of Andhra Pradesh.
Since my first visit (in August 2011) to date, it has expanded its services immensely with wider scope in Psychiatric problems they treated, in addition to addressing Alcoholism and Smoking.
They are also conducting free camps in the community / in schools – raising awareness of mental health problems and also stress management for school pupils. Recently, this team has ventured to provide care & support to the elderly parents of NRIs from Guntur District. There is also much scope for research and training at this comprehensive mental healthcare institute.
I am very much impressed with the methodology adapted by the team here in dealing their patients with a holistic approach. Poly-pharmacy is quite a common practice in India in treating psychiatric problems, but this team uses a multi-disciplinary team approach to bring a long lasting improvement for their patients and at the same time they make every effort to put their patients on minimum required therapeutic doses of medication as feasible.
In essence, with the above approach of treatment – the whole family will get benefited in addition to the Patient!
Having seen and met the patients who were benefited from the comprehensive mental healthcare via this centre, I feel that the team work was highly commendable. Overall, their success has been due to the dedicated and collaborative effort of Dr Khaleel (Consultant Psychiatrist / Director of MGICMH) for all his sincere efforts and his team – supported by Ms Asha (Psychologist), Dr Jagadish Kumar (Senior Resident) and other nurses for their success and I congratulate them.
I wish every best for this center to continue their dedicated services to the society and I hope & wish the health authorities, local government officials and kind hearted donors join their hands with this team for longer sustenance & further expansion of MGICMH at Guntur! ” – Dr Raghunath Pabbineedi, Manchester, United Kingdom
” I normally reside in England but I spend many months in Puttaparthi during the year as I am a follower of late Sri Sathya Saibaba. I have been coming to India on a regular basis since 2005. I was fortunate to be part of the MGICMH on several occasions.
Suffering from a mental health disorder can be very challenging and many people can and often do suffer from it at some point in their lives.
Patients suffering from mental disorders and their families face huge stress not knowing how to deal with their loved ones and often don’t know what to do or who to talk to. I observed that the team at MGICMH focuses on these aspects effectively.
There is a tremendous amount of stigma attached to mental health in India like several other developing countries. We must educate and encourage people to talk about mental health.
I am aware of many people in India who live in isolation and do not speak to anyone about how they feel. A good quality mental health service must not only be able to help such individuals in ending their social isolation but also to support their families by educating them how to deal with mental health issues.
I notice a fast pace of change in today’s world climate. In every section of our ‘modern’ social structure the dysfunction is apparent.
In the work place, increasing numbers are suffering with stress and stress related illnesses. Within schools, teachers are finding that the behaviour of the students is increasingly difficult. Within homes, I see increasing numbers of marriages split and domestic violence on an increase. There is also an increase in drugs, alcohol abuse.
In India, I see that children are under so much pressure to do well in their education. I have been fortunate to attend several medical camps and schools with MGICMH team. We went into several schools and taught relaxation. The school teachers welcomed the team and found it so useful.
In addition to medication, psychology plays a big role in prevention and recovery to wellness. It helps the client and family to learn to deal with his or her illness more effectively.
Dr Khaleel, his team doctors, Asha who is the hospital psychologist and nursing staff are very dedicated people who work so hard. ” – Sheena Harratt, Laughter Yoga Therapist, United Kingdom
“The day I attended AA meeting in Guntur
[Of course, they were not strictly AA, but it was AA inspired. Yet, it was in Guntur and yes, I attended it. Read on to see why a teetotaler like myself attended this meeting.]
When I stood up in front of nine people, on that humid and hot evening, at MGICMH, I had no idea what to say. All these were alcoholics, attending their weekly meetings at the institute. Most of them were lower middle class — traders, farmers, and daily workers. I felt as if I was intruding.
My friend Ibrahim Khaleel started a non-profit organization called Mahatma Gandhi Institute for comprehensive mental healthcare in Guntur. After working for a many years in UK, he followed the life-long desire of working at the place where he grew up, and setup the institute. When I went to visit the place two years back, he wanted me to attend the AA meeting.
Only after learning that they did not mind my intrusion, and in deed would like me to talk to them a bit, I went in there. I was a trustee of the foundation for a while (until the Govt laws made it impossible for me, a non-citizen to be trustee). Khaleel thought that it would be a good motivation for them if I talked to them.
I walked into the room without thinking much about it. Yet, like anybody from Andhra Pradesh, alcohol impacted our family too. I have a couple of uncles who, in retrospect, were full-blown alcoholics. I knew of families that got destroyed because of alcohol.
I didn’t say much to them. But, the little I told them — about AA, about the power of the group, about not being ashamed of it, but treat it as a disease, about wanting to cure it etc, seems to have gone well. I gave them the social approval that they need.
Later, I learnt more and more about alcoholism in Guntur and surrounding areas. With the growth of government sponsored shops in villages, alcohol has become abundant. With increasing social acceptance of alcohol in middle classes, the cachet associated with alcohol related activities are marketed as common ways of doing.
For instance, drinking at weddings has become a common practice, apparently. Why? Because it is seen as a “done” thing. It is done by the middle class and so, it is aped by the lower middle class. It is shown in movies where affluent middle classes celebrate weddings in grand fashions.
For lower middle classes, alcoholism is becoming a devastating problem. It starts with peer pressure. It is touted as a stress reliever. It is talked about as a manhood issue. It becomes a “pleasure”. It then eventually becomes a necessity, an activity around which people structure their day. It creates distrust among families (suspecting the spouse is one of the common side effects of alcohol).
I met a vegetable seller from Ponnur, with two kids. He drank heavily and lost his money, land, and sold his wife’s jewelry. Eventually, his wife prevailed. When he realized how his two little girls were suffering, he agreed for the treatment. He started coming to the institute twice a week. He became the rallying point for the AA meetings.
AA meetings in Guntur are not really AA meetings. There was no invocation of greater power — people belong to different religions to agree on a single divine power. However, there is a great emphasis on group support. They all meet once a week. They reaffirm their commitment to the path they have chosen. They strengthen each other to their effort to become clean.
And, they need such reaffirmation. When alcohol is promoted by the state, by actors, and movies, when alcohol is the celebrated as only social lubricant for adult males, and alcohol is used by the political parties as a bribe, it is difficult for the lower middle classes, without any outlet for social, cultural, and pleasure activities to stay away from alcohol.
And, this reaffirmation is working. Khaleel tells me that the vegetable seller from Ponnur has been sober for the last four years. His wife talks to wives of other alcoholics to make them understand what they can do. When I met him during my next trip, he told me he comes every week, even now, no matter how difficult it is. For him, this ritual saved him from alcoholism.
For people who is interested in supporting the treatments, please get in touch with my friend Khaleel. While I am no longer on the board, I still am a well-wisher and a contributor. I know of his personal sacrifices in getting these services off ground, and I would appreciate if you can help him in any manner” – Ramarao Kanneganti, Michigan, United States