This is a co-creation of all the participants at our 3rd Living Learning Experience. Each one has made sure they included themes and insights from those three days of experiential learning into this piece of art.
Dear Friends and colleagues,
Here I am again writing to you after a long time!
I have good news to share with you. I have been listening to people who have said I should write my thoughts down and communicate them with the larger community, seriously. Here is an outcome: My article on "Mental Health in Schools: The Wellness Perspective" has been published in an online educational magazine called Mentor. It is on pages 6 to 9, and in it I have tried to take therapeutic community into a wider community:
I would love to hear your thoughts on the same.
At Hank Nunn Institute, there have been quite some developments on our work front since my last letter [September last year!]. After having offered our services at no cost initially, we moved to fee based services in February and are now moving to donations from April onwards. The move from no-cost service to a fee-based service was quite a difficult one, as it required us to move away from our philosophy of mental health services being every person's right, and a basic need. With heavy resistance we did make the change, as we then began to also consider the significance of reciprocity in therapeutic relationships. We are now working on a paper which will describe the therapist and patient experiences in both - in both no-cost & fee-based service - to understand and evaluate the pros and cons in both contexts.
We have also recently started our outreach counseling centre in North Bangalore. This is a collaboration between ourselves and CREST, an old counseling centre, wherein we will be reviving their counseling service as well as building our service. Our counseling service will act as a filter and help us come in contact with people with severe personality difficulties, which is a step closer towards doing what we set out do in the first place, i.e. developing a PD service.
Our ultimate dream of starting a residential TC is still a few years away. Our pilot project on a farm in Mysore, which I mentioned in an earlier letter ["Celebrating two years of the Hank Nunn Institute", August 2016], has come to an end; but we are building on the experience: We are laying down groundwork for starting a therapeutic farm in Penukonda, where our Living Learning Experience workshops happen at present. Something for a future letter?
I know there is a lot more to say, but I will stop at this for now!
Warm regards from India,
Shama Parkhe is a PETT Fellow, doing exciting things, and from whom we are always delighted to hear. For more on PETT Fellows, see here.
Hank Nunn Institute (HNI) is a not for profit registered charitable trust located in Bangalore, India. It was named after Fr. Hank Nunn S.J., a Canadian Jesuit, who spent 35 years of his life dedicated towards working with those diagnosed with chronic psychiatric disorders. HNI was founded by Anando Chatterji and Shama Parkhe on 8th July 2014. Their passion is mental health, and both have been trained in the Therapeutic Community philosophy, principles and methods.
HNI is a space where mental health is explored and understood as a continuum between wellbeing and dysfunction that belongs to all of us. Our focus area is to develop a service for those with personality disorder. Due to the lack of awareness and existing stigma around mental health, those with personality disorder go unnoticed under the justification that they don't have a "real psychological problem." Our efforts are to develop carefully designed treatment, awareness, and training programs to meet this challenge experienced by individuals with personality disorder. We hope to create an atmosphere which is significant to the clients' journey in discovering and empowering themselves.
You can keep up with HNI on: