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We give people their humanity back’: inside Croatia’s pioneering mental health centre

High walls still surround the oldest asylum in the Balkans, an 18th-century building pocked with the artillery scars of last century’s civil war, but the gates are no longer locked. Handles have been replaced on internal doors and bars removed from windows. “The jail,” said Darko Kovaoic, a 53-year-old poet with schizophrenia who lives here, “has broken open.” The institution in Osijek, eastern Croatia, is run by Ladislav Lamza, a former social worker who is taking on the government, the health minister, and his own staff to transform the lives of…

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Actively Involved Fathers in Parenting Can Help Boost Baby’s Mental Skills

It is generally believed that mothers are of prime importance for the child’s healthy development but a recent study highlights the role of fathers as well. Mothers and fathers, both, have a very distinct way of parenting and it plays a vital role in the development of a child. In a general household, mothers are usually involved in disciplining or teaching the child and uses oral interaction whereas fathers are involved in playing games with the child, giving them tasks and structuring their conversations around these lines. Basically why this…

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Mental Health in the Workplace

Given that most of us spend a good amount of our time at work, it should come as no surprise that the work environment plays a significant role in our psychological health and, as studies are increasingly showing, the economic health of the organization. A 2016 Work and Wellbeing survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that less than half of the 1501 workers surveyed felt their organization supported employee well-being, and one in three reported being chronically stressed on the job. Only 47 percent felt the recognition they received reflected their contributions…

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Fruits and Vegetables May Help Boost Mental Health

It is said that you are in the best of health only if you have a healthy body, mind and soul. These three components are essential in bringing a balance to your life and keep you happy and strong. While we commonly pay heed to our physical state of being, our mental health takes a back seat. Call it taboo or what, but must people shy away from discussing their mental state. In today’s times, with alarming rise in cases of depression, anxiety and stress, it is important to talk…

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How brain can be tricked to cure mental maladies

When neuroscientist V S Ramachandran came up with a cardboard box and mirror to trick the brain into `seeing’ a limb that didn’t exist in the late 1990s, he created quite a stir in the scientific community . Two decades on, he has initiated another trial on the same principle of illusion -only this time the brain itself plays the role of a mirror. Taking forward the theory that some brain cells in people mirror a reaction they are just witness to but not part of, Ramachandran and his team…

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Mental health drives at grassroots can prevent suicides, says report

Grassroots community mental health programmes to address risk factors such as depressionand alcohol use disorders can significantly address treatment gaps and reduce incidence of suicide, a new study published in The Lancet Psychiatry shows. The prevalence of depression, one of the most common mental disorders, fell from 14.6% to 11.3% following community mental health interventions implemented by two NGOs -Prakriti and Sangath. The population-based programme -Vishram (Vidarbha Stress and Health Program) was implemented over 18 months in Vidarbha, which reported a high prevalence of suicides in agricultural com munities. The…

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