Among the destitute, the mentally ill are the least equipped to cope on the streets. Bizarre in their appearance and behavior, they seem scarcely human. Even an attempt to rescue is resisted by them as often their mode of defense is to fight off.

Udavum Karangal believes in their right to dignity and has been engaged in the mission of rehabilitating such sick persons and reuniting them with their family.

The Rescue Process

A concerned citizen informs Udavum Karangal either through a letter, a phone call or by using our APP- “HELPER’S CHOICE”, about a destitute in a desperate condition. Our Social Workers go to the spot and rescue him/her. Sometimes, the Police or another institution refers someone.

Rescuing someone who has been living on the streets, caked in dirt with matted hair, sometimes violent and with fractures, starved abused, hardly like a human is a difficult task. The Social Worker needs to have courage and compassion. Once the person is brought to Udavum Karangal, his/ her hygiene is attended to. With a bath, clean clothes and a good meal, there is already a change. This is followed by a medical check- up and treatment by a General Practitioner. The Psychologist and Social Worker record their observations which are used for Psychiatric consultation and treatment.

For interesting stories on Rescue, see the section ‘Be Inspired’.


The following play an important role:

  • Psychiatric treatment and medication
  • An open ambience, no one is locked up
  • Occupational Therapy: activities like gardening, tending to animals, cooking, cleaning etc keep the patients engaged and boost their self- esteem.
  • Organized life brings a sense of order into their life.
  • Individual and group counseling.
  • Emphasis on nutrition.
  • Periodic review by the Team of Psychologists, Social Workers, Psychiatric Nurse, Care- givers and recovered patients.
  • Women patients live in safety and special care is given to pregnant women.
  • Music, Art and Dance Therapies add a sense of fun and joy to their lives.


After treatment, when the patient has sufficiently recovered, efforts are made to trace the family. The Social Worker tries to get information about the family from the patient. It is a long process where even a small clue is used to track the post- office and through them the family. If the patient and the family are eager to be reunited, then arrangements are made for this.
Thousands of men and women have been reunited with their family over the last 33 years.


Udavum Karangal becomes the permanent home of rescued psychiatric patients if their family cannot be traced or they are not accepted by them. Apart from medicine, chronic and dependent patients need love and acceptance. To keep themselves engaged, they volunteer to do cooking, cleaning, looking after the other patients etc.
The homes for psychiatric patients in Chennai are:
Athma Shanthi and Karuna Illam for women;
Dignity Home and Adaikalam for men;
In Coimbatore,
Shakthi Vanam and Thanjam for men and women respectively.
In Thiruvannamalai,
Ramana Rehabilitation Centre for men and Sumaithangi for women.
In Madurai,
Shanthivanam for men and women.