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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Appeal for Relief for Orissa Cyclone Victims

Dear Friends,

With extensive attention all across the world, it came and went. For a few days Cyclone Phailin in Odisha was all over the media and among people. We all spoke about the effective evacuation and how life loss was minimized.. certainly a commendable job!!  BUT what hasn’t made it to the world’s attention, is the massive aftermath - the ravage caused across the state. Today even when news of this calamity has faded out, more than 12 million people in 16000 villages, 15 districts, over 4.00 lakh houses are left devastated. Figures much bigger than many previous disasters !!
Survivors are left homeless, struggling to resettle in barren lands. Schools, houses, fields, personal belongings to basic food, everything is still a huge issue for millions.

Goonj has been working in Odisha for many years now. This time the fading attention and the growing need is a tough challenge. We are trying to do our bit but the scale of the crisis calls for a much bigger action.  This is urgent, not because of present scenario but also because winters are setting in, which will soon make life much tougher for millions.
Please refer- for the immediate relief material list and to organise camps.

For financial contributions, refer- .

If you missed out detailed update on 3 months of our work in Uttarakhand, please refer- 
Do spread the word.. looking forward to your active role.. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

World Mental Health Day 10th Oct

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10 October, 2013

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Mental Health
Mental Happiness

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Being Happy
Being Human

This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
Still, treat each guest honorably.
Who may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
-  Rumi

We, the Normals!
‘Normal’ is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving
through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to
the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you
leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.
—Ellen Goodman
Some guy bought a new fridge for his house.
To get rid of his old fridge, he put it in his front yard and hung a sign on it saying: 'Free to good home. You want it, you take it.'
For three days the fridge sat there without anyone looking twice.
He eventually decided that people were too mistrustful of this deal.
So he changed the sign to read: 'Fridge for sale $50.'

The next day someone stole it!


 I stopped at McDonalds and ordered some fries. 
The girl behind the counter said would you like some fries with that?


One day I was walking down the beach with
Some friends when someone shouted.....
'Look at that dead bird!'
Someone looked up at the sky and said...'where?'

While looking at a house, my brother asked the
Estate agent which direction was north because
He didn't want the sun waking him up every morning.
She asked, 'Does the sun rise in the north?'
My brother explained that the sun rises in the east
And has for sometime. She shook her head and said,
'Oh, I don't keep up with all that stuff......'


My colleague and I were eating our lunch in our cafeteria, when we overheard an admin girl talking about the sunburn she got on her weekend drive to the beach. She drove down in a convertible, but said
she 'didn't think she'd get sunburned
because the car was moving'.


My sister has a life saving tool in her car
which is designed to cut through a seat belt
if she gets trapped.
She keeps it in the car trunk.

I was going out with a friend when we saw a woman with a nose ring attached to an earring by a chain.
My friend said, 'Ouch! The chain must rip
out every time she turns her head!"
I had to explain that a person's nose and ear
remain the same distance apart no
matter which way the head is turned...


I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area and went to the lost luggage office and reported the loss.
The woman there smiled and told me not to worry
because she was a trained professional and
said I was in good hands.
'Now,' she asked me, 'Has your plane arrived yet?'


While working at a pizza parlor I observed a man
ordering a small pizza to go.
He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 pieces or 6.
He thought about it for some time then said 'Just cut it into 4 pieces;
I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces’.

A man was driving when he saw the flash of a traffic camera. He figured that his picture had been taken for exceeding the limit, even though he knew that he was not speeding... Just to be sure, he went around the block and passed the same spot, driving even more slowly, but again the camera flashed. Now he began to think that this was quite funny, so he drove even slower as he passed the area again, but the traffic camera again flashed. He tried a fourth time with the same result. He did this a fifth time and was now laughing when the camera flashed as he rolled past, this time at a snail's pace... Two weeks later, he got five tickets in the mail for driving without a seat belt.. 
…..And last, but not the least: TRUE STORY
A noted psychiatrist was a guest speaker at an academic function 
where Nancy Pelosi happened to appear.
Ms Pelosi took the opportunity to schmooze the good doctor a bit and asked him a question with which he was most at ease.
'Would you mind telling me, Doctor,' she asked, 'how you detect a mental deficiency in somebody who appears completely normal?'
'Nothing is easier,' he replied. 'You ask a simple question which anyone should answer with no trouble.  If the person hesitates, that puts you on the track..'
'What sort of question?' asked Pelosi.
Well, you might ask, 'Captain Cook made three trips around the world 
and died during one of them. Which one?'
Pelosi thought a moment, and then said with a nervous laugh, 'You wouldn't happen to have another example would you? I must confess I don't know much about history.'

 ….and the very last from India!
During a visit to a mental hospital, the Chief Minister asked the doctor: "How do you determine if a patient should be admitted to hospital?"
Doctor: "Well, we fill a bathtub. Then we give a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him to empty the bathtub."
CM: "I understand. A normal person would use the bucket because it is bigger than the spoon and the teacup."
Doctor: "No, a normal person would pull the drain plug.  Well? Do you want a bed near the window, CM?”

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Danny Kaye - "Manic Depressive Pictures present... "

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Danny Kaye - Anatole of Paris

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Danny Kaye Show - The Thinker

Exercise Techniques
 Do we really need Physical Training in today's life, when we already have our daily program of strenuous activities: -
01) Beating around the bush
02) Jumping to conclusions
03) Climbing the walls
04) Swallowing our pride
05) Passing the buck
06) Throwing our weight around
07) Dragging our heels
08) Pushing our luck
09) Making mountains out of molehills
10) Hitting the nail on the head
11) Wading through paperwork
12) Bending over backwards
13) Jumping on the bandwagon
14) Balancing the books
15) Running around in circles
16) Eating crow
17) Tooting our own horn
18) Climbing the ladder of success
19) Pulling out all the stops
20) Adding fuel to the fire
21) Opening a can of worms
22) Putting our foot in your mouth
23) Starting the gossip ball rolling
24) Going over the edge
25) Picking up the pieces 
Whew! That's a workout! Now sit down and
26) Exercise caution.
"Faith or Psychotherapy is not about everything turning out OK;
Faith & Psychotherapy is about discovering you are OK - no matter how things turn out."

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Counselling & Psychotherapy are Processes in the direction of
Self Re-Discovery, Re-Alignment & Re-Integration with the Universal Wholeness!

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How Faith Can Affect Therapy
Can belief in God predict how someone responds to mental health treatment? A recent study suggests it might.
Researchers at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., enrolled 159 men and women in a cognitive behavioral therapy program that involved, on average, 10 daylong sessions of group therapy, individual counseling and, in some cases, medications. About 60 percent of the participants were being treated for depression, while others had bipolar disorder, anxiety or other diagnoses. All were asked to rate their spirituality by answering a single question: “To what extent do you believe in God?”
The results, published in The Journal of Affective Disorders, revealed that about 80 percent of participants reported some belief in God. Strength of belief was unrelated to the severity of initial symptoms. Over all, those who rated their spiritual belief as most important to them appeared to be less depressed after treatment than those with little or no belief. They also appeared less likely to engage in self-harming behaviors. “Patients who had higher levels of belief in God demonstrated more effects of treatment,” said the study’s lead author, David H. Rosmarin, a psychologist at McLean Hospital and director of the Center for Anxiety in New York. “They seemed to get more bang for their buck, so to speak.”
One possible reason for this, he said, is that “patients who had more faith in God also had more faith in treatment. They were more likely to believe that the treatment would help them, and they were more likely to see it as credible and real.” Of the 56 people who expressed the strongest belief in God, 27 also had very high expectations for the treatment, while nine had very low expectations. In contrast, of the 30 patients who said they had no belief in God or a higher power, only two had high expectations for the treatment.
“It’s one of the first studies I’ve read that actually looks at perhaps a mechanism” for “why we see some correlation between the strength of religious commitment or the strength of spiritual commitment and better outcomes,” said Dr. Marilyn Baetz, a psychiatrist at the University of Saskatchewan who studies the effects of religion and spirituality on mental health. An earlier year-long study by Dr. Baetz and her colleagues found that people with panic disorder who rated religion as “very important” to them responded better to cognitive behavioral therapy, showing less stress and anxiety, than those who rated religion as less important.
Assessing how religious practices affect health is difficult, in part because researchers can’t randomly assign people to embrace religion or not, the way they might assign participants in a drug test to take a new medication or a placebo. Most studies of this relationship are observational, and people who are more or less religious may differ in other important ways, making it difficult to know whether religious faith is actually causing the effect or if it is a result of some other factor. But teasing out the effects of faith on treatment outcomes may be an important goal. Most Americans believe in God — 92 percent, according to a 2011 Gallup poll, though the percentage among mental health professionals may be considerably lower. One study from 2003 found that 65 percent of psychiatrists said they believed in God, compared with 77 percent of other physicians.
Previous research has associated church attendance with increased life expectancy and, in some studies, a reduced risk of depression. But this study looked not at how often the participants went to church or at their religious affiliation but at their belief in a higher power. “I think it’s a scientifically sound way of measuring things that have to do with people’s experience of spirituality,” said Torrey Creed, an assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. “I think about this as a study of cognitive styles, that there’s a pattern of thinking that helps people get better in treatment. And two examples of this pattern of thinking are ‘I believe in treatment’ and ‘I believe in God.’”
Randi McCabe, director of the Anxiety Treatment and Research Center at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Ontario, said, “People’s belief that something is going to work will make it work for a significant proportion of people,” similar to the placebo effect. “Your belief that you’re going to get better, your attitude, does influence how you feel,” Dr. McCabe continued. “And really, in cognitive behavior therapy, that is really what we’re trying to change: people’s beliefs, how they’re seeing their world, their perspective.” Dr. Rosmarin offered further explanation for why religious faith might aid psychiatric treatment“There’s a vulnerability associated with physicality,” he said. “I think people, psychiatric patients in particular, might recognize that vulnerability and recognize that things can’t be counted on. “Sometimes medications don’t work, and sometimes psychotherapy doesn't work,” he continued. “But if someone believes in something that is metaphysical, if someone believes in something spiritual, which would ostensibly be eternal, permanent, unwavering, omnipotent, then that could be an important resource to them, particularly in times of emotional distress."

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Attached PPT : The Argument against Argument
VLC: Wrong Number

Greg Lobo
Counselling Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Life-Coach 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Aasra's Mental Health Week program at Bandra Promenade Amphitheatre, Carter Rd Bandra on October 12th, 4.15-5.30 pm

Keep yourself Free   on October 12th and October 13th,

Drop in for the 'Mental Health Awareness Weekend', 

In an attempt to aid in the creation of a society where there is awareness and acceptance on mental health Aasra along with The Thought Co.  is pleased to invite you  to Mumbai’s first Mental Health Awareness Weekend, to be held on the 12th and 13th of October, 2013 at Amphitheatre, Carter Road  Promenade, Bandra (west), Mumbai 
The primary intent of this event is to aid in the creation of a positive, enjoyable and fun perception towards Mental Health. Being mentally fit is not only for those diagnosed with a disorder but for everyone.
In addition to other events by NGO's working in the field of Mental Health,
Aasra (Director Johnson Thomas) will be conducting an interactive audio-visual presentation cum  Workshop /Discussion 

Topic: Suicide Prevention Workshop 
Time: 4.30 - 5.30
Day: Saturday
Date: October 12, 2013

Aasra's Mental Health Week program at Bandra Promenade Amphitheatre, Carter Rd Bandra on October 12th, 4.15-5.30 pm

Aasra's Mental Health Week program at Bandra Promenade Amphitheatre, Carter Rd Bandra on October 12th,  4.15-5.30 pm

Keep yourself Free   on October 12th and October 13th,

Drop in for the 'Mental Health Awareness Weekend', 

In an attempt to aid in the creation of a society where there is awareness and acceptance on mental health Aasra along with The Thought Co.  is pleased to invite you  to Mumbai’s first Mental Health Awareness Weekend, to be held on the 12th and 13th of October, 2013 at Amphitheatre, Carter Road  Promenade, Bandra (west), Mumbai 
The primary intent of this event is to aid in the creation of a positive, enjoyable and fun perception towards Mental Health. Being mentally fit is not only for those diagnosed with a disorder but for everyone.
In addition to other events by NGO's working in the field of Mental Health,
Aasra (Director Johnson Thomas) will be conducting an interactive audio-visual presentation cum  Workshop /Discussion 

Topic: Suicide Prevention Workshop 
Time: 4.30 - 5.30
Day: Saturday
Date: October 12, 2013

Caregiving For the Mentally Ill

Hearing the Unheard: Exploring the Caregiver Perspective of

Mental Illness
...Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she's the one I've watered. Since she's the one I put under glass, since she's the one I sheltered behind the screen....Since she's the one I listened to when she complained..... or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she's my rose...
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

According to the World Health Organization, more than 450 million across the globe suffer from mental illnesses. What is woeful is that with such staggering numbers of people who actually do need clinical and psychosocial interventions, the number of mental health care providers and services catering to them are appallingly low. In India itself, the ratio of mental health care providers to the number of people who need their help is alarmingly skewed, with only 2% of the total number of psychiatrists who are actually needed (in the second most populous country like ours) being available to the people in need 1 With such a deficiency in mental health care providers, the huge responsibility of taking care of such people in need fall on the family members, who take on the role of caregivers.
One of the definitions of caregiving has been that of ‘interactions in which one family member is helping another on a regular basis with tasks that are necessary for independent living’. 2 Becoming a carer involves not only helping the person with physical tasks but also supporting and catering to their psychological and emotional needs. It is the weaving together of these elements that can make caregiving such a challenge. Despite their critical role in the caretaking of people with physical, psychological, emotional as well as financial support, the importance given to caregivers has long been underestimated and marginalized though.
In many families, caregivers live with the notion that they are responsible for the family member's mental illness, a false belief that can lead to intense feelings of guilt and shame and the stigma that gets associated with it. Caregivers can also experience "stigma by association" through the stigma faced by a family member living with mental illness and as a result of the stigmatizing behaviour from friends, health care providers and the media.
Although attitudes towards caregivers are now changing and their role is increasingly being recognized as critical to the recovery and well-being of people living with mental illness; more needs to be done to support them, both by acknowledging and addressing their needs, and by reducing the stigma they experience.
Moderators of the Impact of Caregiving
In order to alleviate the stress associated with caregiving, there are a few factors that can help in moderating the stressors that come in way of caregiving. For instance:
Socioeconomic factors
Mental health care and the impending costs it brings, makes it tough for the caregivers and families to help support the needs of the person in need. In a lot of families, the caregivers are also compelled to either leave work, or compromise work hours in order to ensure the support and safety of their loved one in need. In such cases, it leads to a huge financial strain on the family. A good financial support and helpful work policies can thus go a long way in moderating the financial and socio economic strain on the caregivers.
Social support
Social support is of immense importance to help caregivers feel heard and helped. It works as a platform where the caregiver can speak about his/her emotions, feelings and worries and can have the assurance of being validated and supported. Social support can be provided both informally by family, friends and relatives as well as professionally through counsellors, psychiatrists, religious institutions etc. Research indicates that caregivers who reported having larger informal support networks reported greater life satisfaction, greater perceived support from family and friends, and less resentment and anger than did caregivers reporting smaller informal support networks. There is also evidence that it is the quality of social support rather than the quantity available that is most important. 4
Coping strategies
The term coping refers to the things people do (acting or thinking) to increase a sense of well-being in their lives and to avoid being harmed by stressful demands”. Coping strategies differ from person to person. It primarily depends on the personality type of the individual, the relationship of the caregiver to the care recipient as well as the issue and intensity of the care recipient's disability. In general positive coping styles such as 'proactive coping' (anticipating a problem and preparing how one is going to deal with it), social coping (seeking social support from others) and emotion-focused coping (in which the person concentrates on deriving meaning from the stressful experience) are healthy coping strategies that effectively help caregivers deal with their issues.
Sense of mastery or Self-efficacy
Self-efficacy or Mastery is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. These beliefs that one has is what determines and influences thoughts, behaviours and feelings. Enhancing a sense of mastery or self-efficacy empowers individuals and helps rebuild strength and brings about a perceived sense of control over their lives. It is therefore a particularly sustainable type of support that caregivers can use to help reassure themselves of the control they have over their lives and the abilities they have to deal with and overcome hurdles.
A study done on caregivers and understanding family care revealed that there were a few coping strategies that seemed to benefit the caregivers the most:

Coping Strategies used by Carers

The nine most popular strategies, found to be very helpful by over 50% of carers, were:
  •  Realising that the person you care for is not to blame for his or her position
  • Taking life ‘one day at a time’
  • Finding out as much as you can about the problem
  • Keeping a little free time for yourself
  • Realising that there is always someone worse off than yourself
  • Realising that no one is to blame for things
  • Keeping one step ahead of things by planning in advance
  • Getting as much help as you can from professionals and service providers
  • Talking over your problems with someone you can trust
Increasing Positive Health Outcomes for Caregivers
It is a pressing need that the mental health of caregivers is addressed. In order to achieve this, it is essential that:
  • Favorable work policies such as flexible work hours and better financial crisis support be provided
  • Better awareness of mental illness and specific guidelines of “Dos” and “Don’ts” be provided so that the caregivers have a sense of structure and security in terms of how does one deal with an issue that can otherwise induce fear and panic in the caregiver
  • Accessible family support groups and caregiver forums be more pervasive so that caregivers can avail of a platform where they can be heard and be supported both psychologically as well as emotionally
  • Provision of respite care for the caregivers be made more affordable and accessible
  • Interventions which help in identifying caregiver strengths and reinforcing them be worked out so as to give the caregivers the motivation and positive affirmation that they rightly so deserve
With the deficit in mental health care services, ensuring family caregivers are healthy and efficient to provide care is therefore key to maintaining our nation’s long-term care system. Improved recognition of caregiver needs must thereby be considered a public health priority and with the aging and rising longevity of our population, this issue will only grow more important in the coming decades.

Vikram Patel: Mental health for all by involving all.Posted Sep 2012 • TEDGlobal 2012
2 Zarit, S. H. & Edwards, A. B. (1999) Family caregiving: research and clinical intervention. InPsychological Problems of Ageing: Assessment, Treatment and Care (ed. R. T. Woods), pp.153–193. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
3 Schofield H, Bloch S, Herrman H, Murphy B, Nankervis J, Singh B 1998, Family caregivers. Disability, illness and ageing, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, NSW.
4 Deal A G, McWilliam R A, Cooper C S & Trivette C M 1989, ‘Strengthening families to day for success tomorrow: The family, infant and preschool program.’ In J M Levy, P H Levy & B Nivin (Eds.), Strengthening families. New directions in providing services to people with developmental disabilities and their families (pp. 267- 279). Young Adult Institute Press, USA.
Turnbull A P & Turnbull H R 1993, ‘Participatory research on cognitive coping. From concepts to research
planning’, in A P Turnbull, J M Patterson & S K Behret (eds) Cognitive coping, families, and disability, Paul. H. Brookes Publishing Company, Baltimore, pp 1-14.
6 Nolan M, Grant G & Keady J 1996, Understanding family care, Open University Press, Buckingham.

ONE DAY I DECIDED TO QUIT- Change your perception


I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality… I wanted to quit my life.
I went to the woods to have one last talk with god
“God”, I asked,
“Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”.
His answer surprised me…
“Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo ?
“Yes”, I replied.
“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them.
I gave them light.I gave them water.The fern quickly grew from the earth.
Its brilliant green covered the floor.Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful.
And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. He said.
“In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed.But I would not quit.
In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not quit.” He said.
“Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant…But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall.
It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive.I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.”
He asked me. “Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots”.
“I would not quit on the bamboo.I will never quit on you.”
“Don’t compare yourself to others.” He said.”The bamboo had a different Purpose than the fern.
Yet they both make the forest beautiful.”"Your time will come”, God said to me.
“You will rise high”.
“How high should I rise?” I asked.
“How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return.
“As high as it can?” I questioned.”Yes.” He said, “Give Me glory by rising as high as you can.”
I left the forest and brought back this story.I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on
you.Never, Never, Never, Give up.
Don’t tell the Lord how big the problem is, tell the problem how Great the Lord is!