FACEMi-Families’ Alliance on Mental Illness

Since 2009, I have been involved in mental health related activities, primarily, supporting Schizophrenia Awareness Association(SAA) in Pune. Mental health is the area where there is such huge scope for work on different levels-awareness and stigma about the mental health issues, rights of persons with mental illness(PMI), laws relate to mental health, care giving, support by society and government, treatment, rehabilitation etc. The history and even the current state of affairs in the area of mental health is not very encouraging, not specifically, for India, but in general worldwide.

In the past I have written about how technology can help bridge some of the gaps in this domain. Today I want to write about another initiative, which focuses on families of PMIs. Families and family support one of the key ingredients of treatment and is often overlooked. This initiative is called FACEMi-Families’ Alliance on Mental Illness. The goal is create inclusive families. An inclusive family is one that believes in the equality of all its members based on functional family norms, personal needs and rights.

facemi facemi-sept-event

As a social impact initiative, Action for Mental Illness(ACMI) launched FACEMi in 2013 for creating national forum for families. ACMI is listed on mental health innovation site as well here. FACEMi deals with the idea of promoting inclusive families by ensuring that no force divides care givers and PMIs against each other. It reinforces society’s responsibility to strengthen the family bonding of betterment of PMIs. FACEMi is a family advocacy group that uses advocacy as a tool to focus on various issues such as stigma/promoting awareness/gathering info on awareness. Such advocacy is pursued within framework of rights.

The group is consists of more than 300 families, so far, and growing. The key person behind is Dr Nirmala Srinivasan. She is a topic of another blog, but she has been involved as activist in disability related issues, and also is Ashoka Fellow.

FACEMi recently concluded national level event in Bengaluru which focused on few issues related to advocacy with Indian government on rights, lobbying for assisted home care, future care of PMI orphans. I could not attend it unfortunately, but my colleagues at SAA were able to attend it. The highlight of the event was the submission of a petition addressed to the Minister ​of Social Justice and Empowerment through chief guest Mr Lov Verma, Secretary, Disabilities, Government of India. It is already under process and and he shall be forwarding to the Minister with his comments. FACEMi is also proposing to start an online signature campaign very soon.  One more campaigns were launched during the event-National Mental Health Trust Fund. In the recent past FACEMi also pursued, the issue related to reducing delays in the court appointment of legal guardians under the current law that is MHA,1987 and also under the new Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014 (RPDA Bill 2014) when it becomes a law.

FACEMi’s website has a unique section called Rarely Asked Questions(RAQ). This contains questions which occur in every care giver’s mind, frequently, but rarely asked.  It is imperative that we support and spread about FACEMi and their activities, get more people and families involved, make world stronger and better place.

2 thoughts on “FACEMi-Families’ Alliance on Mental Illness

  1. Dr Anikumar TV says:

    Dear Nirmala madam and team
    Good to know about the initiative.Congrats the team for empowering families.
    We have been running a small self help group in Kerala for last 24 years attached to the Department of Psychiatry Government Medical Colleges Trivandrum.-MANASA…Mentally And Neurologically Ailing persons Self help Association.We conduct monthly support meetings, weekly psycoeducation groups in wards,daily help desk in the OPD,Help line services, rehabilitation activities, public awareness programme s etc
    Shall mail the details
    We are happy to join in your activities
    Dr Anikumar TV
    Department of Psychiatry
    Medical College Trivandrum


    • Prashant Kulkarni says:

      Thank you Dr Anilkumar ji. This blog about FACEMi was written by me, on my personal blog. Your comment is not accessible to FACEMi office bearers. Do you have their email address? If not, I can send you so that you are get in touch. I am in Pune and also involved in mental health area via my association with NGO called Schizophrenia Awareness Association(SAA).


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