The top 6 NGOs in India for mental health
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One in five Indians experiences depression at least once in their lifetime. Yet the IPSOS 2020 Mental Wellness: The Changing Indian Attitude survey shows only 27% of Indians believe mental health to be one of the top health problems. While addressing the shortage of mental health professionals in 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind said that India is facing a “mental health epidemic” and emphasized the need to make mental health facilities accessible to everyone.
The condition has only worsened after the pandemic. A 2020 study by the Indian Psychiatry Society found that the pandemic led to an increase of 20 percent in people living with mental illnesses. With this sharp decline in mental health, making resources more accessible and affordable has become essential. An article by the Indian Journal of Psychiatry stated that India has only 0.75 psychiatrists per 100,000 people. High-income countries generally have 6 psychiatrists per 100,000 people. Mental health resources in India are severely lacking. However, many organizations are working toward creating more awareness and providing resources to improve this situation.
We look at some of the nonprofits working to destigmatize mental health and provide accessible mental health care to everyone who needs it. The list is in no particular order.
Founded in 2010, the MINDS Foundation was established with the aim of destigmatizing mental health and providing access to high-quality and cost-effective mental health care. It is achieving this goal by providing education and making mental health care accessible.
By undertaking continuous research, the Foundation is also creating effective intervention programs. Their 24*7 toll-free helpline for immediate help (+18005- 477-200) receives over 5,000 calls monthly. The Foundation is currently working in 225 villages and says it has impacted the lives of over 650,000 people.
The Banyan was founded in 1993 in Chennai to support homeless women and people living with mental illnesses.
Currently present in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, The Banyan provides housing, mental health care, and the opportunity to reconnect with the world and their families to homeless people living with mental health conditions. Under its NALAM program, it offers free mental health services. The organization has also initiated three Master’s degree programs collaborating with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Sangath was founded in 1996 in Goa as a child development clinic. Their continuous research has led to them developing several intervention programs and gaining global recognition. Its primary focus is on mental health development and child, adolescent, and youth development.
With several initiatives to design effective treatment plans, Sangath aims to create solutions to improve mental health across all ages and people. It has also collaborated with various government services and departments to develop a broader impact.
Anjali Mental Health Rights Organization
Based in Kolkata, Anjali Mental Health Rights Organization is working toward making mental health communities inclusive and intersectional. It works in partnership with the government to ensure complete recuperation for people living with mental health conditions. In an interview with FeminismIndia, Ratnaboli Ray talked about how Anjali helps people with mental health conditions. “On the one hand, we enhance the capacity and competency of the people to be aware of their rights. On the other hand, we constantly attempt to create an environment where people with mental illness can access their rights,” she said.
Her personal experience with mental health and the poor conditions of government mental health facilities in India inspired her to create Anjali. Anjali is currently associated with 3 mental hospitals in West Bengal and has impacted nearly 85,000 lives.
The Live Love Laugh Foundation
The Live Love Laugh Foundation aims to provide hope to people living with stress, anxiety, and depression. After getting diagnosed with anxiety and depression, actress Deepika Padukone founded this organization in 2015 to create awareness and destigmatize mental health, especially for stress, anxiety, and depression.
Since its founding, the organization has collaborated with many similar organizations, including Sangath, to implement various programs. It has curated multiple resources to help and normalize conversations about mental health.
Founded in 2001 in Delhi, Manas Foundation aims to create mental health awareness in India. In 2014, it expanded its mission to support gender justice by engaging with public transport services on women’s safety. It has a presence in 12 centers across India. The Foundation has adopted focusing on the person and not on mental illnesses.
It provides affordable and accessible mental health services for everyone, including marginalized communities. In their Gender Justice program, they educate public transport drivers to create a safe environment for women.
Mental health in India
India has come a long way toward de-stigmatizing mental health. And there is yet a long way to go. It was the little things that led to the beginning of these organizations. They were inspired by witnessing someone’s struggle, their own struggles, or the lack of mental health resources in India. These organizations have now touched the lives of lakhs of Indians. Only 41% of Indians between the ages of 15-24 believe that seeking help for mental health issues is a good option. These organizations can support you in your journey toward mental well-being.
As Dr. Brock Chisholm, the first Director-General of the WHO, said, “without mental health, there can be no true physical health.”