Dr Hansal Bhachech
Dr Hansal Bhachech, one of the most renowned and respected psychiatrists in Western India, has been a mental health advocate since 1986, an era unaware of mental health issues. He has been an advisor to Suicide Prevention Program of Indian Medical Association, Gujarat state branch and contributed to State Government helpline for students as a cheif co-ordinator and in-charge. He is currently serving as an advisory member of Mental Health Authority, Gujarat. Dr. Bhachech has penned 15 books on mental health and relationship issues and is one of the most widely read Gujarati authors. He was first in state to study the psycho-social aspects of cannabis dependence, and authored `Vaat Mrutyu Taraf Jati Ek Vaat Ni' an award winning book on drug menace. He pioneered the trend of Health Columns by doctors in mainstream newspapers and wrote ‘Manas’ – a health column, one of the longest running column on mental illnesses and positive ways to deal and heal them. He was first in Gujarat to initiate radio serials on mental health and on alcohol & drugs aired on All India Radio. He also conceptualized setting up of `Lohi ni Sagai', a special rendevous zone for mentally ill and their family to visit and bond. During the mega disaster, 2001 Gujarat earthquake, Dr Bhachech produced over 10,000 self-hypnosis tapes which were distributed amongst affected people to help them overcome panic and fear. With more than 400 lectures on mental health awareness, he pioneered trend of educating youth to manage exam stress, give up addictions and resolve relationship issues and gives free guidance to netizens through interactive an website, malefemale.in, on mental and interpersonal problems. His unparalleled efforts have been recognized every now and then, ‘Jugatram Dave Gold Medal’ by Nashabandhi Mandal, being one of them. Yet with 30 years of consistent efforts, Dr. Bhachech’s greatest achievement has been the demolition of stigma associated with mental illness in a society full of taboos.