state news

Yogi Adityanath is BJP's CM-designate for Uttar Pradesh, will take oath tomorrow

The state will have two deputy chief ministers – Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma.

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday chose Yogi Adityanath as their legislature party leader in Uttar Pradesh, which means he will take oath as the chief minister of the state on Sunday, ANI reported. The state will have two deputy chief ministers – Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma.

The decision was taken at a meeting in Lucknow attended by party lawmakers and senior leaders. Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu and national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav were present at the meeting as “observers”.

Adityanath had held a separate meeting with Bhupendra Yadav, Om Mathur, KP Maurya and Sunil Bansal before the MLA meet, reported ANI. Earlier in the day, supporters of the Gorakhpur MP had staged protests demanding that their candidate be made the state CM.

After the Assembly election results on March 11, Adityanath had said, “People have rejected the SP-Congress alliance in a big way; this is a vote for development.” He has been elected an MP from Gorakhpur to the Lok Sabha in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 elections.

Adityanath is known for his hardline Hindutva politics. In January, he proposed a US-like immigration ban in India. He had lauded United States President Donald Trump’s immigration order against citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations, and said, “Similar action is needed to contain terror activities in this country.”

Adityanath had also spoken about the alleged exodus from Kairana and promised to deal with the issue “strictly” once the BJP is in power. He compared the situation in Kairana to that of Kashmir over 27 years ago. “Have you forgotten the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990?...If you do not wake up even now, you will also be forced to migrate to other regions,” he had said at the rally.

The BJP won 312 seats in the 403-member state Assembly. Its allies got 13 seats. The Samajwadi Party was decimated in the Assembly elections, which it had fought in alliance with the Congress. Between the two, the parties managed to win only 54 seats. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party got 19 seats. The results were declared on March 11.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.


During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.