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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 378-379

Schizophrenia research foundation-caring for the mind: A journey of 35 years….and counting

The Association for the Mentally Challenged, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission08-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance09-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication25-Nov-2021

Correspondence Address:
Prof. R Srinivasa Murthy
Project ENRICH, Mental Health Advisor, The Association for the Mentally Challenged, Bangalore - 560 078, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_320_21

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How to cite this article:
Murthy R S. Schizophrenia research foundation-caring for the mind: A journey of 35 years….and counting. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2021;37:378-9

How to cite this URL:
Murthy R S. Schizophrenia research foundation-caring for the mind: A journey of 35 years….and counting. Indian J Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Oct 6];37:378-9. Available from: https://www.indjsp.org/text.asp?2021/37/4/378/331130

Author : R Thara

Publisher : Schizophrenia Research Foundation (India), Chennai

Year of Publication : 2020

Pages : 254 pages

Free download : https://www.scarfindia.org/scarf-caring-for-the-mind/

Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) nearing completion of four decades of service and leadership in rehabilitation is the subject of the book and it is dedicated to Prof. Sharada Menon, a doyen of psychiatry.

Rehabilitation psychiatry is a recent entrant in the field of mental health, though institutionalized psychiatric care is a few centuries old. Interestingly, it was in 1961, industrial therapy was started in Chennai (erstwhile Madras) by Dr. Sharada Menon, at the same time as in the West like the mental hospitals in Bristol, UK.

Dr. Sharada Menon completed her undergraduate and postgraduate education in medicine from the Madras Medical College in 1947. She completed her psychiatry training at the All India Institute of Mental Health, Bangalore in the 1950s. She is the first lady psychiatrist of the country. Soon after the psychiatric training, she joined Kilpauk Mental Hospital, Madras and took over the leadership of the Institution as Medical Superintendent in 1961. She led the Institution for 17 years and “transformed the hospital from being a “dumping ground” into one of the best-run institutions.” She pioneered many innovations in mental health care during the nearly two decades of work there – “the hospital witnessed many reforms including the beginning of outpatient services, appointment of professional social workers, starting of industrial therapy center, and introducing volunteers to help.”

Following retirement, with a desire to serve the country and to make a difference to society in general and the persons with mental disorders in particular, she recognized the urgent need for rehabilitation to complete the care of persons with mental disorders.

Towards this goal, she started SCARF in 1984. This vision and desire to provide leadership that led her to mobilize people, professionals, planners, and philanthropists to start SCARF in 1984. Beginning in a humble setting it has grown, today, to be a pioneer in the national and international psychiatry in service, research, and training of personnel.

The current range of current activities includes daily outpatient services, inpatient facilities for both short and long term care, dementia care, wide range of rehabilitation activities, media leadership, postgraduate training in mental health disciplines, advocacy, organization of bi-annual international conferences, and Human Resource development in a number of areas like research, counseling, etc.

The leadership of Dr. Menon and the SCARF team is seen systematically and continuously the range of activities have developed during the last four decades. The other aspect of significance is the mobilization of a range of interested groups to become part of the mental health movement in general, and rehabilitation in particular. The development of IDEAS and its acceptance as the standard for assessment of disability is a significant contribution. SCARF has over 300 publications and multiple national and international collaborations. It has also received many national and international awards.

The book uses the motif of a growing tree and is organized in 9 sections, namely, seeds of hope, taking firm root, verdant roots, tendrils of growth, blossoms of light, toward fruition, canopy of trees and potpourri. The theme of the tree is very evocative and symbol of close to nature continuous growth, and fruition.

Prof. Sharada Menon has been and continues to be the leading light of the organization by leading with example and by continuously setting newer and newer goals for the dedicated team.

My own understanding of the importance of the book is as follows: First, it is a tribute to the leadership of Dr. Sharada Menon and her multifaceted personality. Second, it is an excellent chronological and progressive record of an Institution. Third, it is a record of the growth of rehabilitation in the country. Fourth, it is an illustration of the step wise, progressive approach to address social issues. Fifth, it is a practical demonstration of the way community resources can be generated and utilized to bring about changes. Sixth, it is a demonstration of not only action but also the reflection, in the research activities that have advanced the understanding of schizophrenia in India and the world. Finally, it is a serious effort to document the processes of change and show light to others light in their own efforts to make a difference.

The book is beautifully produced with illustrations, photographs, and personal reminiscences from national and international leaders from a wide range of disciplines. I strongly recommend the book to be read, reflected upon and to be inspired to create innovative approaches to mental healthcare in the country.


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