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These devastating videos of the volcanic eruption of Mount Agung in Bali are terrifying

The last eruption was in 1963, and a thousand people were killed.

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For the first time in longer than a century, the Mount Agung volcano in Bali has erupted. Fearing that a major eruption and “risk of disaster” is imminent, the Indonesian authorities raised the state of alert to its highest level, and ordered around 100,000 people near the volcano to evacuate.

The volcano has been spewing ash and dark smoke, up to 3,400 metres (11,150 feet) above the mountain’s summit, making for a sight both breathtaking and terrifying. Social media users captured videos of the formidable summit that you can watch below, though the most stunning footage is a time-lapse video of the volcano, above.

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The exclusion zone around the volatile volcano was expanded to 10 km following the eruptions on Saturday, while the Bali airport was closed, and more than 400 flights were cancelled, leaving nearly 60,000 travellers stranded. The island attracts millions of tourists each year who, fortunately, were safe from the eruption as the primary tourist stretch is about 70 kilometres away from the volcano.

The National Board for Disaster Management wrote in a statement on Facebook, “The rays of fire are increasingly observed at night. This indicates the potential for a larger eruption is imminent.” The volcano, they wrote, could be seen emitting “continuous ash puffs”, sometimes accompanied by “explosive eruptions” and “weak booms” that could be heard even 12 km away from the summit.

The volcano, which has been emitting ash with increasing intensity, is now entering the magmatic phase as is apparent from the visible glow, which means there could be an explosive eruption any time. The eruptions could either be large and disastrous, or be relatively minor over time.

However, officials did warn residents to stay away from “lahar”s – dangerous slurries of volcanic debris mixed with water that have been spotted in fields and rivers near the volcano. The flow typically increases in the rain and move rapidly. Watch them in the videos below:

Officials distributed masks to local residents, and warned people of ash rain, which would possibly be the worst (and only) impact of the volcano on regions beyond the exclusion zone.

The last time Mount Agung erupted, in 1963, the impact lasted longer than a year and killed more than 1,000 people.

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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.

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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.