Professor Deborah Padgett Visits India to Gain Insight Into Mental Health and Housing Programs

Professor Deborah Padgett recently returned from a trip to Delhi, India -- her second trip to India since June -- where she continued to build relationships with mental health providers and advocacy organizations helping homeless adults with serious mental illness. While there, Padgett gave a seminar talk at the Public Health Foundation of India and met with staff at the newly opened Centre for Mental Health funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and directed by Dr. Vikram Patel, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and leading expert in global mental health.

Accompanied by Columbia University public health intern Prachi Priyam and Silver School research scientist Katie-Sue Derejko, Padgett toured the wards of the large public psychiatric hospital in Delhi -- the Institute of Human Behavior and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) -- led by its director, Dr. Desai. Desai described their outreach program for 'pavement dwellers' suffering from mental illness, a partnership between IHBAS and local advocacy and service organizations. Padgett was also able to visit several of these organizations and learn about the services and shelter they offer.

A highlight of her trip was meeting Sreerupa Mitra Chaudry, founder of Sudinalay, a charitable organization that runs a shelter for women with mental illness and serious health problems. Chaudry noted a recent rise in national government attention to the problems of those who are homeless and mentally ill. She was particularly interested in the 'housing first' model Padgett has written about as a potential template for service system change in Delhi and elsewhere in India.

Chaudry and colleagues hope to visit the United States in 2013 to see firsthand how this innovative approach works. Patel will be visiting New York University this month to give a talk at the Department of Psychiatry as well as at the Silver School.

Padgett will be presenting at the McSilver Lecture on Monday, March 11. Stay tuned for more details about this exciting opportunity to hear more about her research and experiences.