A Lifeline of
Secrecy. Shame. Silence.
Living with mental illness is never easy in any
part of the world.
But it can be more so in India.
Recent scientific advances in psychiatry have ensured
that all psychiatric illnesses are treatable if the illness is
identified early, treatment initiated quickly and followed
by appropriate rehabilitation.
Despite the significance of timely and appropriate
treatment, people suffering from mental illness and their
care givers often face critical challenges that pose barriers
to seeking basic quality mental health care.
Some of them are:
4Lack of awareness about mental illness
4Inadequate human resource in the mental
4Lack of accessibility to treatment centres
4High cost of treatment
4Stigma and discriminatory attitudes
towards mental illness that delays
treatment seeking behaviour
Not surprisingly, in such circumstances,
4An acute illness becomes chronic
4A treatable illness becomes untreatable
4An able person becomes disabled
The statistics are grim.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2011)
4Globally, one in four persons will experience some form
of mental illness at some point in their lives.
4By 2020 mental illness will be the second most common
form of illness across the world.
4In India, according to the National Mental Health Survey
(NMHS, 2016), nearly 150 million people are in need of
active mental health care
4Three out of four persons with a severe mental disorder
experience significant disability in work, social and family
4However, only 20% of people in the country received
4Even fewer than this have access to rehabilitation
services, which is an important component in the
treatment of people with mental illness
A Different Vision
The lived experience of caring for a brother with mental illness and
the stigma and discrimination experienced by the family sowed the
seeds of Dr. Ramasubramanian’s vision of comprehensive rehabilitation
services for people with mental disabilities. It created a deep desire in
the “wounded healer” to offer not just medicines to people with mental
illness, but new hope… to answer what every parent of a person with
mental illness often fears, ‘what will happen to our child after us?’ To
see persons with mental illness as assets to their families; not liabilities.
Dr. Ramasubramanian hence established the M.S. Chellamuthu Trust
and Research Foundation (MSCT&RF) in 1992 based on the personal
experience of caring for a person with mental illness in the family and
the lack of adequate mental health care services in Madurai.
Mental health for all
With a vision of mental health for all, the trust promotes holistic mental
health care that is available, accessible and affordable. For more than
two decades, MSCT&RF is the largest mental health services provider in
south Tamil Nadu.
Currently MSCT&RF offers the following services:
4Awareness: Mental health literacy for the community and specific populations such as teachers, students, parents, health care professionals,
traditional healers and caregivers.
4Assessment & Treatment: Ahana Hospitals, Madurai, serves as our primary treatment providing centre. Services include detailed clinical
evaluation, psychological assessments, pharmacotherapy and psychosocial interventions.
4Rehabilitation: Institution Based Rehabilitation (IBR) and community mental health services
4Vocational Training: Skill development and livelihood promotion
4Human Resource Training & Development: To bridge the gap between growing need for mental health services and inadequate mental
health service providers, MSCT&RF has launched courses and training programmes on a wide array of mental health areas as part of their human
resource and development initiatives.
4Research: Studies on psychosocial aspects of mental health, the impact of rehabilitation , with special focus on CBR (Community Based
Rehabilitation) initiatives have been the areas of research activity.
4Advocacy and lobbying: Several ongoing initiatives with significant stakeholders such as the government, law, judiciary and policy makers for
inclusion and mainstreaming of people with mental disabilities.
Rehabilitation Services: Sowing the seeds of
A person with mental disability needs more than just recovery from symptoms. The
field of psychiatric rehabilitation treats the consequences of the illness rather than just
the illness per se.The circle of treatment is complete only with successful rehabilitation
that identifies the person’s unique abilities and provides appropriate training to make
them independent and self-reliant.
At MSCT&RF, rehabilitation services are designed to promote recovery from mental
disability and foster integration with society. A passionate commitment to honour and
respect the dignity and humanity of the patients forms the core of the rehabilitation
vision of MSCT&RF.
Spurred by a belief that recovery from mental disability is everybody’s business, the
rehabilitation services work closely with the patient, the family and mental health
professionals to add more meaning, purpose and satisfaction to the patient’s life.
At MSCT&RF, the rehabilitation services sow and nurture the seeds of recovery
through creative programming. The trust offers comprehensive rehabilitation services
for diverse population groups such as
4Homeless persons with mental illness
The services include institution based rehabilitation, community mental health
services and support services.
Institution Based Rehabilitation: Restoring
dignity and well being
Aakaash (Centre for
rehabilitation of differently
Established in 1995, the day care centre
provides a spectrum of rehabilitation
services for children (ages six years to
16 years) with diverse conditions such as
mental retardation, autism and Down’s
A multi disciplinary team of mental health professionals work together to
improve the functional abilities and quality of life of children with mental
retardation and developmental disorders. Since inception, the centre has
made all the difference in the lives of around 5000 children.
At Aakaash, disability is no barrier to fun and learning! The planned and
therapeutic activities are customised to the needs and disability status
of the individual. Besides Individualised Education Plan (IEP), stimulating
classroom activities, regular medical care, well equipped vocational
training units and field trips and picnics with the parents ensure that for
the children, disability is not the end of the road!
Most children at Aakaash are from the nearby villages where poverty and
low levels of literacy and inadequate awareness are widespread. Hence
MSCT&RF provides education, transport, food and uniforms free of
Centre for rehabilitation of differently
As the children transition to adulthood, this 40-bed
residential centre provides comprehensive rehabilitation
services for adults with mental retardation. Established in
2008 in Tirumohur village, 20 km from Madurai, persons
above 16 years, both male and female, are eligible to
avail the services. The centre offers a range of vocational
training activities that include gardening, domestic skills,
candle making, tailoring, making incense and packaging
Centres for rehabilitation of persons
with mental illness
Shrishti (Short Term Care Centre)
Established in 1992, the short term residential care centre
is based in Musundaragiripatti village, 25 km from Madurai.
Located in lush green premises, this 45-bed centre
addresses the rehabilitation needs of women and men
with psychiatric disabilities. A multi disciplinary team of
mental health professionals provide individual and group
rehabilitation services to enhance the quality of life of
persons with psychiatric disabilities through appropriate
Bodhi (Short term and long term care
Located in the scenic foothills of Alagarkoil,
30 kms from Madurai, the 90-bed centre
provides short and long term residential
care for women and men with psychiatric
disabilities. The important psychosocial
interventions consist of individual and group
counselling, training in activities of daily
living (ADL), social skills training, customised
innovative agro based interventions, animal
husbandry and micro enterprises.
Vriksha (Rehabilitation Centre
This is an exclusive 26-bed centre for women
with psychiatric disabilities. Established in
1998, Vriksha is located in the centre of the
city, and provides residential care. The main
psychosocial intervention consists of micro
enterprises as a livelihood initiative.
Rescue home and rehabilitation centre for homeless persons
with mental illness
The secrecy, shame and silence surrounding mental illness often forces families
to abandon family members with mental illness —more often at pilgrim cen-
tres. In several instances, affected persons also wander out of their homes on
their own and are unable to be traced by the families.
The rescue home and rehabilitation centre for homeless persons with mental
illness, a novel initiative, an instance of public-private partnership in collabora-
tion with the state government, addresses the widespread incidence of home-
less persons with mental illness. Currently there are three such rescue homes
and rehabilitation centres in Madurai (2009), Ramnad (2009) and Dindugul
Since inception the centres have rescued and rehabilitated 2000 abandoned
persons with mental illness, provided them treatment and reunited them with
Out of Mind, Out of Sight
e was a familiar sight in a well known residential area in Madurai. Matted
and tangled hair, dirty torn clothes, a glazed look in his eyes, often
muttering and laughing all by himself… his body and mind may have been
battered beyond recognition by the ravages of mental illness, but his soul was still
unharmed… needless to say, most passers by ignored him and went on with their
Anonymous, alone and adrift, he would have been yet another nameless faceless
statistic—just one among the 10 million homeless wandering mentally ill persons in
Fortunately, he was rescued by the team from MSCT&RF, Madurai, and taken to the
rescue and rehabilitation home for the wandering mentally ill persons. Renamed
Shanmugam, he was provided acute psychiatric medical care. Gradually, over a
period of one month, Shanmugam’s symptoms began to subside and he seemed to
recover aspects of his self and reclaim his identity as Ramanathan, who lived in Chennai.
He recalled his father’s phone number and that his father worked in a pharmacy in
Armed with this vital piece of information, the staff of MSCT&RF contacted the father.
Meanwhile Ramanathan was given appropriate rehabilitation that also included sufficient
training in Activities of Daily Living (ADL) such as self-care, dressing and grooming.
Ramanathan’s father was overjoyed to know the whereabouts of his son. He told the
MSCT&RF staff that Ramanathan was being treated in Chennai for schizophrenia.
However, one day he suddenly wandered out of the house and could not be traced. The
desperate father lodged an FIR (First Information Report) with the police but was unable to
On World Schizophrenia Day on March 25, 2015, Ramanathan was reunited with his family.
Currently he is symptom-free and works in a pharmacy in Chennai.
A diagnosis of mental illness is not a full stop to life. With timely andappropriate
interventions, there is life after mental illness… a quality of life that enables the affected
persons live with dignity and well being.
The rehabilitation initiatives of MSCT&RF are evidence of this in both letter and spirit.
and adrift, he would
have been yet another
among the 10 million
mentally ill persons in
Centre for rehabilitation of persons
dependent on alcohol and other
Trishul (Centre for rehabilitation of persons
dependent on alcohol and drugs)
Established in 1995, Trishul is a 30-bed centre
that provides rehabilitation services for persons
dependent on alcohol and drugs. Its committed
team of mental health professionals works towards
improving the quality of life of such persons through
appropriate interventions that include medical
treatment, individual and group counselling and
family counselling. The centre conducts awareness
programmes for the community and treatment camps
in villages and has successfully rehabilitated more
than 10,000 patients.
Community mental health services: Reaching the Unreachable
MSCT&RF provides mental health services at the door step of people living in rural areas. In rural areas, having a mentally ill person in the family
results in several crushing burdens. Among them are lack of access to appropriate treatment facilities, loss of a day’s income in accompanying
patients for treatment and poor transport facilities.
The Community Mental Health Project (CMHP)
CMHP was launched in 2000 in Madurai East Block, supported by Andheri
Hilfe, a German agency. Since 2014, the project has been extended to
Madurai West and Natham block. The project provides prevention,
treatment and rehabilitation services to women, men and children with
mental disabilities in rural areas. Since inception of the project, 2100
people have availed its services.
Working towards bringing sustainable community based
mental health care to the doorstep of the people, the
interventions consist of the following activities: awareness
building, early identification of disability and appropriate
treatment, rehabilitation services (home based, day care),
formation of caregivers’ associations, formation of Self
Help Groups, mental health education and research.
Bringing togther mental health and religion
Recognising the close relationship between religion and mental health, MSCT&RF
launched its community mental health services in faith-based centres such as the
dargah, the church and community mental health camps conducted by Hindu
Dava (medicine) and Dua (faith) project: The Erwadi fire incident occurred on
6 August 2001, when 28 inmates of a faith-based mental asylum died in a fire
accident. Therefore in 2014, MSCT&RF launched the Dava (medicine) and Dua
(faith) project in Ramnad District.
This novel initiative incorporates the practice of integrating religion in the medical
management of psychiatric illness—all under one roof. Patients are examined
by a team of qualified mental health practitioners in the dargah premises itself.
Faith healers work in tandem with the mental health team and because of their
involvement and motivation, patient compliance with treatment is high and
outcomes are satisfactory.
Community mental health camp: The monthly community mental health camp
at Sivakasi, an industrial town 80 km from Madurai, is another such initiative. It
is being conducted since 2001 in collaboration with volunteers of the Sathya Sai
Samiti, Sivakasi. With a focus on identification and treatment of mental illness,
the camp provides treatment, medicines and food—free of charge to all patients.
Trained volunteers facilitate placement of recovered people in industrial units in and
Our telepsychiatry service is
the second largest in Tamil
Nadu. It reaches patients
and challenges barriers to
availability and accessibility
of affordable basic mental
health care. Hewlett Packard
(HP)-India, as part of its
CSR (Corporate Social
sponsored a mobile
telepsychiatry care unit,
‘Ananya’ to MSCT&RF. The
mobile unit is equipped with facilities like physical examination couch, ECG Unit, medical
consultation cabin and video conferencing facility.
Furthermore, using other cutting edge technology, our service reaches unreachable
segments of the population. It is a cost effective and time saving strategy with medications
being delivered to patients right at their doorstep. Consultations and telecounselling
services are offered both within and outside the country.
A 24/7 helpline is available for crisis intervention such as suicide prevention and post
traumatic stress and also to enable people to access information regarding our services.
Recognising the impact of mental illness on
families and caregivers, MSCT&RF has launched
supportive programmes for them. These include:
4Caregivers’ network (Subitcham);
4Siblings’ network (Synergy);
4Mental health volunteers network (Share) and
4Legal aid services.
The members of Subitcham, Synergy and Share
initiatives meet once a month to draw strength,
inspiration and fellowship from their shared
experiences of living with persons with mental
disability. The activities include psycho education,
counselling, skill development and lobbying.
The legal aid services are offered free of charge
to sensitise persons with disabilities and their
families about their legal rights and provide
legal support and protection to persons with
disabilities. The services are offered weekly on
Tuesdays and Saturdays between 2 pm - 5 pm.
Vocational Training and
Centre for Vocational
rehabilitation and placement
In order to enable people with mental
disabilities acquire work and social skills
that would make them employable,
MSCT&RF offers training in vocational
activities such as tailoring, book binding,
screen printing, carpentry and baking.
Dairy farming rehabilitation
In 2015, the trust launched a three-month
skill development programme in dairy
farming for persons who have recovered
from mental disabilities—a landmark
public-private partnership. The course is
a collaborative effort of MSCT&RF and
the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal
Sciences University (TNVASU), Chennai.
The course is the first of its kind in the
country. Eligible candidates on completion
of training are provided a subsidy loan
through the District Administration,
Madurai, to promote and foster vocational
Residents of the rehabilitation centers
also actively engage themselves in agro
based rehabilitation activities such as
growing organic vegetables and orchard
ajeshwari… so serene and graceful that it
is difficult to believe that her life was once
far from peaceful or happy. Dressed neatly
in a maroon sari, Rajeshwari is delighted that her
13-year-old daughter Varsha is spending her sum-
mer holidays with her.
Rajeshwari, 48, lives in the home for
people with mental disability run by M.S.
Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation
The younger of two sisters, Rajeshwari’s
elder sister Meenakshi was diagnosed with
schizophrenia, one of the most common
yet serious forms of psychiatric illnesses.
Rajeshwari underwent open heart surgery
when she was 12 years old. By the time
she was 15 years, Rajeshwari too began
to develop symptoms of schizophrenia.
Their father, a Madurai-based bank official,
brought both his daughters to the MSCT&RF
for treatment. Rajeshwari responded better
to treatment than her sister Meenakshi.
Meanwhile their mother died of cancer. Her
extended family persuaded her father to get
her married, as it would be “impossible to
look after two daughters who were mentally
In response to family pressure, Rajeshwari
agreed to get married. She, however, insisted
that her family disclose her psychiatric
illness. On the contrary her father reasoned
that since her symptoms were under control
it was not necessary to disclose her medical
This is Rajeshwari’s story…
Against All Odds
“My husband divorced
me because I was
mentally ill and here I
When her marital family
discovered that she was
being treated for mental
illness, they sent her back to
her father’s house, along with
her three-month daughter
Varsha. Today, Rajeshwari,
however, admits that her
birth family should have
been transparent about her
“My husband divorced me
because I was mentally ill
and here I am today,” says
Rajeshwari, as she recalls the seven long years
of the bitter divorce proceedings.
“My daughter has never known her father.
She saw him for the first time only in the
court,” says Rajeshwari matter of factly.
Rajeshwari’s father too died shortly thereafter,
after a prolonged illness, during which both
the sisters were his caregivers. Thereafter the
vulnerability of living as people with mental
illness was all too apparent for the two sisters.
Their landlord evicted them from the house.
The extended family was unwilling to take
care of them. In a desperate move, their
paternal uncle placed them in an orphanage
in Chennai, where the sisters were treated
insensitively and harassed.
In a desperate bid to escape, they accepted
domestic help at a
friend’s residence at
Rajeshwari recalls that
this was like jumping
from the frying pan
into the fire. Shocked
at the blatant instance
of sexual harassment
by her friend’s
decided to flee the
place along with her
sister and daughter.
She took the bus to Madurai along with
her sister and daughter. At 10 pm on June
21, 2012, she knocked at the out patient
services of the MSCT&RF to meet
Dr C.Ramasubramanian (Dr CRS).
“I knew I would not be turned away. Such
was my faith and belief in Dr CRS. Since
then the place has been a sanctuary for us,”
recalls Rajeshwari, who also admits that
Dr CRS has taken on the roles of a
dual parent for the sisters and a doting
“grandfather” for her daughter.
It was a strange homecoming for the sisters
and Varsha. Since then regular medication
and appropriate psychosocial rehabilitation
has ensured that the illness is under control
for both sisters.
Today Rajeshwari, who is skilled in drawing
and tailoring, works at the tailoring unit.
She is an expert cook and enjoys cooking
traditional Tamil Brahmin cuisine.
“I am very good at making pavaka pitlay,
aviyal and pongal,” she says with a bright
Varsha attends a residential school nearby and
regularly visits her mother and aunt over the
weekends. Both mother and aunt dote on her.
“I want my daughter to become a scientist.
Perhaps then my family will know that you
just can’t write off people with mental illness,”
says Rajeshwari with a quiet determination.
However, not every person with a mental
disability is as fortunate as Rajeshwari. Her
story highlights the multiple vulnerabilities
experienced by people with mental
disabilities, especially women. The absence
of supportive spaces, the invisibility and loss
of identity experienced by people with mental
illness are often far greater burdens than the
“I want my daughter
to become a scientist.
Perhaps then my
family will know that
you just can’t write
off people with mental
MSCIMHR was started in 2008 with the
primary objective to develop and strengthen
human resources in the field of mental
health and thereby increase the availability
of qualified and trained mental health
professionals. The vision of the institute is to
enhance the quality of mental health care in
Courses offered in collaboration with:
Tamil Nadu Open University, Chennai:
4PG Diploma in Psychological Counselling.
4MSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Alagappa University, Karaikudi:
4MSW in Mental Health (Two years)
4MSc (Applied Psychology (Two
4PG Diploma in Mental Health.
4PG Diploma in School
Counselling. (One year)
Training programmes include
various mental health topics
4Counselling & Psychotherapy
4Marital and relationship
4Child mental health
4Mental health literacy
4Mental health first aid
4Leadership and team
Human Resource Training and Development
M.S. Chellamuthu Institute of Mental Health and Rehabilitation (MSCIMHR)
The institute facilitates clinical internship of students
specialising in psychology, nursing, social work, and
rehabilitation sciences through internship placements at
Ahana Hospitals, Madurai, and the various rehabilitation
units of MSCT&RF.
How you can help
You can make a BIG DIFFERENCE in the following ways:
By sponsoring food and medical expenses for very poor
By contributing in provision of special education for
By supporting our rural community outreach
By buying and promoting products made by our
By providing work placements and opportunities for our
By supporting the improvisation of infrastructure
facilities required to provide mental health care and
For further details please contact:
M.S. Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation
643, K.K. Nagar, Madurai 625020
Ph.: +91- 0452-2586448 Fax: +91- 0452- 2580442
Awards & Accolades
District’s Best Non-Governmental Organisation (1996-1997)
Nation’s Best Employee Award-(1999-2000) Nation’s Best Individual Award-2008
(Persons with Disability Sector)
Nation’s Best Institution Award
for the Empowerment of Persons
The first Abdul Kalam Seva Ratna Award –
2015 presented by His Holiness Dalai Lama to
Dr. C. Ramasubramanian- Founder, MSCT&RF
Registered Office: 643, K.K.Nagar, Madurai 20. New Office Building: Plot No.7, 5th Cross Street Lake Area, (Near Mattuthavani Omni Bus Stand),Madurai 625107.
Ph.: 0452-2586448. Fax: 0452-2580442. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shristi Psycho-social Rehabilitation Centre for persons with mental illness: Musundagirypatti, Chittampatty (P.O), Melur (TK), Madurai (dt) 625122. Mob: 9500969662
9629911350. Email: email@example.com
De-addiction Centre (30-bed hospital): 7/14A Wellington Road, NGO Colony, Keelakuelkudivilakku, Nagamalai Pudukottai, Madurai 625011. Mob: 9629911354.
Vriksha Rehabilitation Home for Women with Mental Retardation: 19 A, Sudalaimuthu Pillai Lane, East Sandhai Pettai, Madurai 625 009. Mob: 9629911353.
Vocational Training Centre for people with mental illness: Ramaiah Street, Shenoy Nagar, Madurai 625 020. Mob: 0452 – 2580405. Email: Peacefulmsvtc@gmail.com.
Aakaash Special School: Janadeepam Building, M.S.Chellamuthu Gardens, 1, Ayathampatti village, Alagarkoil, Melur (TK), Madurai District. Mob: 9500969660
Home for people with mental illness: Angayarkanni Kalyanamandapam, Ayyanar Kovil Street, Aruldoos Puram, (Opposite Corporation Water Tank), Madurai.
Mob: 96002 86222. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bodhi Mental Health Training & Research Centre: M.S.Chellamuthu Gardens, 1, Ayathampatti village, Alagarkoil, Melur (TK), Madurai District. Mob :0452-3202014,
Mob: 9629911352, 9994900205. Email: email@example.com
Quarter Way Home: Ramaiah Street, Shenoy Nagar, Madurai 625020. Mob: 9600887555
Home for Adults with mental retardation: East Panchayat Union, Kalyana Mahal, Perungudi Panchayat, Tirumohur Post, Madurai. Mob: 9500969070
M.S.Chellamuthu Institute of Mental Health: 34, T.M. Nagar, Behind Millan Marbles Near Mattuthavani, Madurai 625107. Mob: 0452-4210510, 96299 11357,
Home for people with mental illness, Erwadi: Govt. Hospital Building, Erwadi, Ramanathapuram. Mob: 9500969071. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Occupational Therapy unit: 611, K.K. Nagar, Madurai 20. Ph:0452-2580840,0452-2586320. Mob: 9994474880. Email: email@example.com
Community based Rehabilitation for persons with mental disability: Shakthi Nagar, 2nd Street, Kannanthel Road, Iyer Bungalow, Madurai 625014. Mob: 9629911349