Directors of mental health in India visit Melbourne

March 23, 2012

The director’s of three community mental health sites from across India have visited Melbourne for a one-week training program in early March 2012. This week long delegation visit is part of a two-year project in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India.

AAMH was honoured to have Professor Bir Singh Chavan, Head, Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Chandigarh, Dr. Ajay P. Chauhan, Superintendent, Mental Health Hospital, Gujarat, and Dr. Ramasubramanian, Head, District Mental Health Program, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, attend the 5 day program in Melbourne. Our fourth partner in the project, Professor Amool Ranjan Singh, Director, Ranchi institute of Neuropsychiatry and Allied Sciences, was unable to attend.

The visit began with an overview of the Victorian mental health system by Ms. Margaret Goding, Associate Director, AAMH and former Director of Mental Health and St Vincent’s. The delegation then met with the Chief Psychiatrist of Victoria and AAMH advisory council member, Dr. Ruth Vine to look at some of the challenges in implementing a community mental health system.

During the visit, the delegation saw a variety of community mental health services, including North Yarra Community Health to look at how mental health is integrated into primary health; St Mary’s House of Welcome to look at homeless services; MIND’s Sprout program to look at a community garden for the mentally ill; and VICSERV, which is a peak body for services including housing support, home-based outreach, psychosocial and pre-vocational day programs, residential rehabilitation, mutual support and self-help, respite care and Prevention and Recovery Care (PARC) services.

The group also visited a number of St Vincent’s Health services, including the inpatient unit, Clarendon Community Mental Health Clinic and Footbridge Community Care Unit.

Throughout the program, the delegation had opportunities to reflect on their own learning objectives and outcomes, and how some of the lessons and activities could be adapted back to their own services.

Professor Kwong Lee Dow, Chair of AAMH, hosted a dinner in honour of the delegation, which was also attended by AAMH advisory board members Professor Bruce Singh, Professor Ian Everall, and Professor Helen Herrman from the University of Melbourne, as well as Dr. Maria Tomasic, President of the Royal Australia New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP).