Partnering Manav Foundation

Patient: Ms Sheela Navare

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When we enrolled Sheela, I realised that she was suffering not just from cancer but from mental illness as well. And like many patients with chronic mental illness, her biggest problem was that she was lonely. She did not have a regular daily routine and no family to call her own, and this had exacerbated her psychiatric symptoms.

Sheela has cancer of the left breast but when we first met her, she had no physical symptoms. It was her emotional and mental problems that required attention. No one had ever treated her with respect or courtesy, till the PALCARE team came into her life. In her words, “Aaj tak, aap jaise baith ke, insaan ki tarah kisi ne mujhse baat nahi ki.” (Till today, no one has ever sat and talked to me the way you people have, treating me like a human being.)

We referred her to MANAV Foundation, a day care centre for adults with mental illness.

I accompanied her there on her first visit and she made no effort to conceal her scepticism. But on subsequent home visits, she told us how much she likes going to the day care centre and how it has helped her cope with the manifold problems that once overwhelmed her. She told me that for her, the PALCARE team was her real family—sadly, one that she met so very late in life—and that we had helped her in more ways than we knew.

Sheela’s physical symptoms of cancer are surfacing only now and together with MANAV Foundation, we are providing her with care and guidance and as much comfort as possible given her situation.

Devaunshi Mehta
Psycho-Social Counsellor

*Patients’ names, on this and following pages, have been changed to protect their identity.