From The New York Times:
At the faded one-story medical clinic in this fishing and farming village, people with depression and anxiety typically got little or no attention. Busy doctors and nurses focused on physical ailments — children with diarrhea, laborers with injuries, old people with heart trouble. Patients, fearful of the stigma connected to mental illness, were reluctant to bring up emotional problems.
Last year, two new workers arrived. Their sole task was to identify and treat patients suffering depression and anxiety. The workers found themselves busy. Almost every day, several new patients appeared. Depressed and anxious people now make up “a sizable crowd” at the clinic, said the doctor in charge, Anil Umraskar. The patients talk about all sorts of troubles. “Financial difficulties are there,” said one of the new counselors, Medha Upadhye, 29. “Interpersonal conflicts are there. Unemployment. Alcoholism is a major problem.”
The clinic is at the forefront of a program that has the potential to transform mental health treatment in the developing world. Instead of doctors, the program trains laypeople to identify and treat depression and anxiety and sends them to six community health clinics in Goa, in western India.