Trust Docs: Nadia Murad

Counselors on Motor Bikes Fight Depression in Goa

Prescribing 15 minutes of television a day may not be the most orthodox cure for depression. However, for Vrunda, a recent widow in Goa, India, who endured months of panic attacks, lack of sleep, and loss of appetite, it was a life-saver.

"At first I didn't even have the desire to turn it on," she explains, but after a few weeks of regular sessions she became interested in programs, and eventually, became interested in her own life again.

Her counselor, Subhash Pednekar, was working at a call center when he saw an ad seeking high school graduates interested in becoming mental health counselors. He was one of 40 applicants chosen to take part in the program. Then, he was one of 12 selected to work as counselora in an innovative project using non-professionals to treat patients with depression.

According to a 2011 study by the World Health Organization (WHO), 36 percent of India's population has reported a major depressive episode, making it the country with the highest rate of depression in the world. Symptoms include loss of interest, insomnia, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, and suicidal thoughts. Despite the severity of the problem, India has only 3,500 trained psychiatrists—one for every 200,000-300,000 people.

Dr. Vikram Patel, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, decided to address this treatment gap by co-founding Sangath—a Goa-based NGO that trains anyone with a high-school degree to recognize symptoms of depression and administer counseling treatment. Counselors operate out of a local health clinic. Patients are assigned to mental health workers who screen them for depression and provide two months of home-based counseling.

Sangath is part of a global movement toward community mental healthcare as an answer to the developing world's treatment gap. With depression on track to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020, interest and investment in such programs is increasing.

Patel believes that developed world practitioners could take lessons from such programmes as well.

This short film introduces the Sangath approach through the experiences of Vrunda and her counselor, Subhash.


Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Taboo Health Issues

Many communities around the world see disease and mental illness not as something to be treated, but as something to be feared. As a result, many suffering from curable conditions are stigmatized within their communities. But through education and organizing, some people are challenging these stigmas and addressing previously taboo health issues.

The Resilience of Children

The future of our communities lies in protecting our most vulnerable yet most resilient members: our children. But often, children are the first victims of war and poverty. Many face horrifying events and live with the trauma for the rest of their lives. Despite this, some children survive these events to become leaders of their communities and voices for peace.

  • 2018-02-22T04:30:00-08:00
    Link TV

Green at What Price?

In the name of environmental restoration, the Ugandan government is expanding the country’s forest reserves in order to sell into the global carbon credit market. But this program comes at a high human cost as the state is displacing long established villages, forcing people to relocate, and jailing those opposing the program.

One Man, One City, Three Evictions

Rio de Janeiro has experienced several waves of development in the past century. For Altair Guimaraes the changes have affected him directly. Brought up in a favela, he has been evicted three times as a result of Rio’s developments. As Brazil tries to gain global recognition and increase tourism, locals like Altair are forced to relocate despite property titles. Now, their struggles are becoming a symbol of a global phenomenon.

Women's Work

Women from all over the world are trailblazing through gender barriers in difficult and often dangerous environments. They are defying cultural norms and finding ways to pursue their dreams and change their future. The women featured in this episode are giving a new meaning to the term “women’s work.”