TOOLKIT FOR CHANGE
Before I go into specifying some of the barriers in my community both visible and invisible that are surmounting every other positive change if any, I think it is pertinent to shed some light on the very basic and the simmering problem of my place.
Kashmir, a Muslim majority State, is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. The problem was born in 1947 when it acceded to India on certain conditions. Both the countries have fought 3 wars to claim Kashmir. But, half of the Kashmir is under Pakistan and is known as Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK). The disputed part of Kashmir is under India called, Indian controlled Kashmir (ICK). In ICK, majority of people are demanding right to self determination or freedom from the Indian rule and witnessed eruption of armed rebellion in 1989.
But with the latest surge of violence in the summer of 2010, which left more than 110 civilians dead, the mental health needs in the valley had further mounted, especially among the women folk who are the most sensitive lot to suffer from all corners without any rehabilitation.
During the continuous three summers of unrest, it was found that not victims alone but their family members too were angry and frustrated over the clampdown and thus showing signs of mental disorder. There is a dire need to de-stress people from what they have witnessed.
There should be a method to enhance the patient’s own natural coping strategies after suffering a traumatic event through self-healing process. The mental health problems must be urgently addressed through a strong community-based mental health system as the impact on the physical and mental health and socio-economic functioning is alarming due to the ongoing conflict.
There is a need to increase public awareness about mental health issues in the valley. Be it through use of social media, online audio/video commentary about the prevailing health problems in Kashmir.
Through Pulsewire, some mechanism can be carved out to reach out to the people who are most affected by the violence. We can try out all the new ideas to adapt to the changing circumstances and reach people in hospitals and homes to work directly or indirectly with people or organisations who are already working in the field.
We can make an online referendum to know the opinion of the people on the Kashmir’s solution. The help of the various organisations like UN and other bodies who matter can be sought to press for the resolution of the long-pending Kashmir problem.
A major part of the funding can be drawn from donations from the general public around the world and other funding agencies to give freedom to respond to the needs very fast.
The failure of the Ministry of Health in Kashmir to implement its own National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in Kashmir continues to suffer as there are not many psychiatric facilities and services provided by the government. We can advocate through our community for the proper implementation of the policies.