Inspired by the vision of a Utopian society, Dr. Rao with her team has taken many initiatives for reaching out to the society at large.
Awareness - building programmes
Staunchly believing in the need for preventive measures, the Centre has been actively reaching out to the society through awareness building programmes for promoting mental health. These include Mental Health Exhibitions and Free Lectures & Workshops.
Mental Health Exhibitions
We have been able to reach out to innumerable people through exhibitions with the aim of spreading the importance of sound mental health and ways of improving the quality of life.
a) October 2002, conducted exhibitions at Railway Stations (Dadar, Bandra, Wadala and Andheri & Mulund) during the World Mental Health Week.
b) Participated in a number of health exhibitions for example, organized by Times Wellness, SakalArogya (Pune) etc.
c) January 2005, participated in the Wellbeing Exhibition at Jumeriah, Dubai-without any sponsorship.
Free Lectures & Workshops
During World Mental Health Week, workshops are conducted on variety of topics such as
- Managing Stress
- Good Sleep for Better Health
- Preparing Students for exams
- Helpful Parenting
- Enriching Marital Relationships
- Dealing with Anxieties, Fears & Insecurities
- Self - Development
- Various social organizations invite us to give lectures for improving the quality of life. These include Mumbai Police, Each -one - teach one, StreeMuktiSanghatana, Lions & Rotary Club, organizations for the welfare of Tribals, Schools & Colleges in Mumbai as well as in rural areas such as Neral, Karjat & Alibag.
- Our center has also assisted public sector organizations in their Social Welfare and CSR projects by conducting informative talks and discussions in the Adivasi areas of Kashale, Karjat. The topics ranged from Health & Hygiene, Alcoholism to Self - development for young girls.
- Through the medium of T.V and Radio where Dr. Rao was invited for interview/ talk-show we have been able to reach out to the masses on various issues related to mental health. These awareness-building programmes have been conducted on FM & Akashwani on Radio and Shayadri& DD on T.V.
A Support Group for Senior Citizens was established under the aegis of Aavishkar with a view to lend moral and emotional support to senior citizens. A Support Group for Women was also established initially with the aim of providing emotional support to single ladies. Gradually, married women also joined as it provided an opportunity to share their ideas, views, feelings, problems and difficulties.
Emotional Support for Disaster Victims
Victims of natural calamities and man-made disasters suffer from immense psychological trauma referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sensitive to the trauma caused by natural and man-made catastrophes, Aavishkar has always played an active role in providing emotional help to the victims.
Gujarat Earthquake (2001)
Free counselling was offered at the center to the victims
Visited the relief camps at Nagalpur & Bhuj along with the Aga Khan Foundation to assess the need and provide inputs for psychological/ psychiatric intervention as a part of the rehabilitation programme.
Bombay Bomb Blasts (2003)
Free counselling was available at the center for the victims
Conducted a workshop on “Coping with loss” for those affected by the bomb blast. This was organized by the Times Foundation and conducted in collaboration with Bombay Charitable Public Trust and Sa lokha.
Train Blasts (2005)
Free counselling was made available at the center for those affected.
A workshop “Overcoming Trauma” was organized for children during the World Mental Health Week in October.
Art - Rehab Project
At Aavishkar, some of our chronic patients treated and cured, make creative articles such as hand-painted book-marks, pen-stands from coconut shells, greeting cards, paper bags, decorative Diwali Lamps, paper flowers to name a few. These articles are sold and the proceeds are given to the patients to boost their self-esteem and also to help them achieve financial independence.
Women Self - Help Group
A group of underprivileged and economically backward women has been formed in Neral, near Karjat. This provides a platform for these women to use their skills and become economically self reliant. They are engaged in making and selling Decorative Articles and Food Products. They accept orders and ensure home delivery within Mumbai.
Facilitating Education for the Underprivileged
This involves providing teaching and learning aids to schools and colleges in the rural areas. Special emphasis is laid on promoting girl-education by giving financial aid.
It was in recognition of these initiatives that Dr. Rao was awarded the Samaj Shakti Award for Social Service.