Schizophrenia Research Foundation

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Moving towards 25 years

ScarfSCARF is the acronym for the Schizophrenia Research Foundation, a non governmental, non profit organization in Chennai ( formerly Madras)  in south India  Founded in 1984 by a group of philanthropists and mental health professionals led by Dr. M.Sarada Menon, an  internationally known psychiatrist, SCARF has established itself as a center of repute in rehabilitation and research in disorders of the mind. . The present team led by the Director Dr.R.Thara is composed of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, rehab personnel, administrative and support staff.
SCARF is one of the very few NGOs in the world to be named as a Collaborating Centre of the World Health Organization ( WHO)  for Mental Health Research and Training.
SCARF is also the Indian co-ordinating site for the anti-stigma programme of the World Psychiatric Association.


In recognition of outstanding services for the welfare of the handicapped, SCARF received the “National Award to Outstanding Employer 1995” from the President of India Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma on December 3, 1995 at New Delhi.

In 2001: SCARF received The Helen Keller Award instituted by the National Centre for the Promotion of Employment of Disabled People, New Delhi.  The award was received by Dr. R. Thara on 2nd December, 2001.

In 2006: SCARF is the only Indian organization to receive the Certificate of Excellence by the jury of Geneva Human Rights Association for the work done in the  protection and promotion of the rights of the mentally ill.

Objectives of SCARF

  • Research into biological,  social and psychological aspects of Schizophrenia.
  • Treatment and rehabilitation of people suffering from Schizophrenia and prevention/ reduction of disability.
  • Community outreach programmes in urban slums and villages to offer treatment and improve awareness.
  • Educating the public about Schizophrenia, to create awareness and understanding,  to facilitate early detection, and to eliminate social stigmatisation.
  • Training programmes to various groups of workers on principles of detection and management of mental illnesses.
  • Lobbying extensively with the Government and other apex bodies for programmes for the mentally disabled.
  • Various Units of SCARF

    The nucleus of SCARF’s activities is in the centre at Anna Nagar in Chennai. This 4 storeyed building houses:

    • Out patient clinic
    • Day Care Center
    • Vocational units for men and women
    • Research wing with a computer cell
    • Training and Education center
    • Special services for women and elderly mentally disabled
    • Child Guidance Clinic
    • A residential facility for 35 persons
    • Auditorium
    • Library

    Mental health clinics

    These are in operation on prearranged  dates, and locations. During the clinics all patients are examined and diagnosed by the doctor, who then prescribes medication, medicines are given to the patients by the mental health team.

    Examples of our camps include:

    1) In Tambaram the mental health program was initiated in collaborating with Good Life Centre (NGO) a home for the destitute mentally retarded children. Tambaram is located in Chennai.This clinic covers beneficiaries from lower socio economic background. Majority (60%) of the cases, which attend the clinic, are Psychoses.

    2) Kanchipuram clinic is conducted on the 4th Saturday of every month in the premise given by Vidhyaprakaasham.( a special school for the Cerebral Palsy and Mentally Retared Children).   This clinic covers the patients from Kanchipuram Town and also Vellore district. The patients seek help at the clinic after being informed by the trained volunteers. Surprisingly in this center more number of patients are referred by other users. In this center the diagnostic break up is Anxiety, Depression, Somatoform disorders, Drug addiction, Schizophrenia and children with behavioral problems.

    3) The Temple of Service is a medical program operated by the Annalakshmi group of hotels. This is an international chain of   hotels, which utilizes profits into providing free medical care to the needy. Currently, the program is operational in  Coimbatore and Chennai. SCARF has incorporated the mental health care services in the project operated in Chetput. This program primarily  caters to the slum dwellers in the area.