CHENNAI: In a first, Movement for Global Mental Health will conduct a one-of-a-kind walk for people with mental health problems on Thursday, World Mental Health Day, at Elliot’s Beach. Titled Mad Pride, the event will be hosted by the Sundram Fasteners Centre for Social Action and Research in The Banyan Academy.
The walk will be led by those who have overcome mental health issues, along with their caregivers and other supporters from different walks of life. The parade will host a walkathon, talks on mental ill-health, social models of disability, platforms for formal and informal modes of peer support in addition to central roles for users and caregivers in designing, auditing and evaluating mental health services.
"Around 300 people are expected to participate. The first event for World Mental Health Day is Mad Pride. Topics like treatment, therapy, social care services, disability allowance and unique needs for people with mental health issues will be addressed. Government officials have been invited to speak about The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2016 and The Mental Healthcare Act 2017. People with mental problems must receive the allowance they deserve. Sadly, one has to look sick to get a disability allowance. We want to sit down and explain to the government as well that the amount they will be getting is a big deal. Otherwise, the family feels that they’re a burden. Financial inclusion is crucial," said Mrinalini Ravi from The Banyan.
This parade has been designed with a broad blueprint based on expressed needs of service-users accessing care at The Banyan and invites survivors, families, students and the general public to participate, and help create a diverse, colourful and accepting eco-system for all.
The celebrations will also include awareness and sensitisation programmes for children and young adults throughout the World Mental Health week. Essay writing, drama and short-film making competitions will be organised by The Banyan and BALM for children across Tamil Nadu. “We’re waiting for exams to get over for school and college students. We want to raise awareness among them. The event aims to break the stereotypes associated with mental health,” she said.
The parade will be held on October 10 at Elliot’s Beach from 12 noon to 2 pm.