Jain hopes to help those who are hurting

Jain hopes to help those who are hurting

For the past three months, Dr. Ashok Jain has been doing what he can to make people feel comfortable when they go to Mon-Yough Community Services.

As the facility’s new medical director, he said Mon- Yough is the largest provider of mental health services in Allegheny County. “We can bring up a person’s quality of life by offering them the services they need right here.”

The mental health component of Mon-Yough has been helping folks in McKeesport and neighboring communities since 1969. Services include outpatient therapy, residential services, vocational training and psychosocial rehabilitation.

“I believe Mon-Yough is a very strong community organization,” he said. “With our affiliation with Western Psych (Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic), there are a lot more resources available.”

That union came about in May 2001.

One reason for the strength of the site, he said, is the staff. “There are a lot of quality people on staff here. What we have to achieve is cohesiveness of working together as a team. This has to be a collaborative effort and if everybody works together, we can do a wonderful job in helping people.

“I depend on a lot of people’s blessings,” he said. “There are a lot of kind souls working here.”

When it comes to helping people, Jain’s philosophy is pretty basic. “My goal is to treat my patients like a member of my family. I want to give my patients the same treatment I would want my mother or sister to receive.”

Jain said his objective is to treat a patient, not judge his or her situation. “I will not judge or preach to a patient. Who am I to judge you? I am here to treat you and that’s what I will do.”

Folks who use the mental health resources available at Mon-Yough Community Services come from “all walks of life. Some patients are completely isolated and others appear to be just like you and me.”

In an attempt to better educate the community about mental health issues, Jain said he also is affiliated with Latterman Family Health Center and UPMC McKeesport. He also hopes to develop a Web site with information about mental health and possibly host a radio show focusing on that topic.

“I want to re-establish people’s trust they will receive good service and the best care from the doctors at Mon-Yough,” Jain said.

When he entered the medical field, Jain was a surgeon but soon realized psychiatric medicine was his niche. “It enthralled me when I first saw it. It’s a challenge to understand humans and their behavior. There is so much hope in a person and it’s a challenge to make the person realize that hope.”

Unlike surgery which can become routine, he said, that is not the case with psychiatry. “I will never get bored because there are so many human emotions. It’s nice to be able to heal and befriend someone. These people real-ly depend on you.”

Before setting up practice in America, he was the leading psychiatrist in Delhi, India. “I came here for my children’s future.”

His and wife Meeta, a physical therapist, have two children, son Lakshay, 11, and daughter Disha, 8. “Lakshay means air and Disha means direction. You can’t have one without the other,” he said.

In India, he was known as the “Hugging Doctor.” The reason, he said, is because “I am a very open person and I believe in giving people a hug.”

He wants that openness to be felt by his patients. “I want to be there for them like I would be there for my father or my brother. When people come here, they should be able to feel open with their doctor so we can treat them effectively.”

That sense of family goes beyond the time he spends with his patients. He brings a spiritual side to his practice, too.

“I am a very religious person,” Jain said. “I pray every day. There is not a single day that I don’t pray. I ask patients to be God fearing and God loving because that is the greatest way of healing. God is doing the healing through me. Without his blessing, I can do nothing.”

Jain said his practice is based on the ABCs. “I believe in being available for the patient, in behavior that is open and warm with the patient and being competent to deal with the problem. You have to be highly competent and that is my strongest quality. But that doesn’t come overnight. It’s a process.”

After accepting the position as medical director, Jain admits he soon had a feeling of being overwhelmed. “It was like I was trying to push against a jammed door. But growth is always painful. I think we have some major strengths at Mon-Yough and I am very confident in what we are doing.”

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