Halo Medical Foundation
Project – Manas Mitra Prakalp (Barefoot Mental Health Workers)
MF Issue Area : Healthcare Provision
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Marathwada is a semi-arid region with low rainfall, and prone to drought like situations. Since last 3-4 years the severity of drought situation is increasing. Women and Children are the first victims of the drought. To address this issue and for prevention of further farmer’s suicides Campaign ( Baliraja Jagar Abhiyan ) was organized in 140 villages . Agriculture is the main source of employment for a majority of the rural population. The prevailing drought situation has largely affected the crops, with total crop failure or some very marginal yield. Negligible farm yield has its immediate effect on the income of not only the farmers but also the landless that primarily work as farm labor. Some MNREGA works are underway, but mostly people are unaware of the huge potential for demanding work. Reports indicate 1130 farmers’ suicides during 2015 in Marathwada.
Repeated crop failures, indebtedness, harassment by money- lenders, drop in economic status, stress of paying dowry and the meeting the high wedding expenses for their daughter and sisters of marriageable age; inability to provide for the education of the children, breakdown of family and peer support systems, increase aspirations, lowering self- esteem has significantly increased hopelessness amongst the drought affected communities. The male dominant patriarchal system, social discrimination on caste, religion are aggravating this situation. Due to aggregation of all these economic and social factors, psychological distress and mental health disorders are on rise, which in many cases is resulting in suicides.
COVID 19 Pandemic has added in the stress situation. The problem has become more serious now. The main goal is to reduce incidence of Farmer’s suicides and bring down stress level and number of depression cases in community.