Those living with mental health conditions are likely to simultaneously grapple with unemployment, low education, food insecurity, inadequate housing, and financial stress. Mental illness and poverty are thus intricate parts of a vicious cycle: poverty increases the risk of mental health conditions and conversely, those living with mental health conditions are more likely to drift into poverty. Iswar Sankalpa serves those facing multiple marginalizations — persons living in low-resource settings, with limited access to nutrition and sanitation, dealing with unemployment and financial difficulties and living with mental health conditions. These persons usually face discrimination and social isolation and most often become homeless as a result of these prevailing factors.
Iswar Sankalpa works to facilitate early identification of psychosocial disabilities, enhance community awareness around mental health and address stigma—in an effort to break the cycle between social exclusion, poverty and homelessness. As part of its early identification and outreach services, Iswar Sankalpa works within the primary health care system, in urban low- resource settings, to provide accessible and affordable mental health interventions. Within this Urban Mental Health Program, Iswar Sankalpa also facilitates other psychosocial activities for the community, including formation of women’s support groups, and sessions on arts-based and dance-based therapies. In addition to these preventive measures against the cycle of poverty- homelessness-mental illnesses, the organization focuses on the integration and inclusion of homeless persons with psychosocial disabilities through community shelters, livelihood training, rehabilitation of shelter clients in communities of origin, and family/community sensitization programs. For example, as part of their care-based programs, Iswar Sankalpa runs an assisted community living program, “Nayagram”, where shelter-based long-term care of homeless persons grappling with psychosocial disabilities, is facilitated in the rural community of Kashipur, with an agricultural-based livelihood program.
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