Adaikalam (which is the Tamil word for “refuge”) is a 160 bedded mental health hospital providing a cheerful, vibrant and lively environment. Visitors are often greeted by staff and residents with handshakes, hugs and smiles.
It is the oldest project of The Banyan and has worked with more than 2000 clients since it started in 1993. From rescue, through recovery to rehabilitation, Adaikalam works with destitute, homeless women with mental health issues. The approach is completely centred round the needs of the individual.
The first stage of the process is rescue. Homeless, destitute women with mental health issues are extremely vulnerable on the streets. When a person is spotted, The Banyan is notified and attempts to rescue them from that difficult situation. This is a delicate operation and can take huge effort to gain trust and then help the person reach safety at Adaikalam. Once there, a thorough physical examination takes place and the client undergoes initial assessments of her mental health status.
The second phase is the recovery phase. The Banyan’s approach is to put the client into the heart of any decisions that may affect her – after all your mental health state is as unique as you are. The assessments help to determine an individual care plan. This could comprise pharmacotherapy (medicines); counselling; psychotherapy and is aimed at helping the client to become aware of her own mental health and how to regain and maintain wellness.
People making a recovery from homelessness and mental health issues make different decisions about their future. Some choose reintegration with their families (around 65%), but for others this is not possible or desirable. With these clients The Banyan works on helping them live independently – developing vocational skills, facilitating employment and helping secure housing.