At Nimhans-run bakery, patients find dignified life

At this Nimhans-run bakery, patients find a way to dignified life

As visitors navigate through the psychiatric rehabilitation centre at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans), they would find the aroma of freshly baked bread quite irresistible.

Several patients affected by psychiatric ailments are hard at work in the bakery here, dishing out 100 pounds of bread a day for hospitals in the neighbourhood.

"Until recently, we were supplying bread only to the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, but now the bread from here goes to the whole of Nimhans, besides the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health," said Dr Deepak Jayarajan, associate professor, psychiatric rehabilitation centre, department of psychiatry, Nimhans.

Patients with intellectual disabilities working at the bakery are day boarders, while some others are in-patients at the institute recovering from various ailments. The bakery has become a source of livelihood for them, besides a means of positive engagement.

"We believe such engagement, along with therapy and medication, help patients improve. Assigning them tasks involving some amount of social interaction also helps negate certain negative symptoms of the illness," Dr Jayarajan noted, adding that the activities also help them organise the day and help them return to normalcy.

The centre has both instructors and contractual employees. Bharat, who has an intellectual disability and working in a contractual role, was recently conferred the President’s award for serving people with disability.

"The bread made here is sold at Rs 30 a pound at the counter," Dr Jayarajan said, adding that the patients are paid a stipend. "We also supply for some conferences at Nimhans, apart from hospitals."

The institute runs buses to make it easy for day boarders to commute. “Some of them are patients who wish to work, but don’t find jobs due to their psychiatric condition. The others come here to get trained in baking to do it professionally," Dr Jayarajan said.

Patients here are trained to make candles, sold over the counter at the hospital premises, while the bakery also takes orders for cakes and cookies.

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