6 Indian NGOs: Promoting Mental Health Awareness

6 Indian NGOs: Promoting Mental Health Awareness

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues in people of all ages around the world. The stigma attached to mental illness makes the situation in India even more troubling.

According to a 2017 report by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), roughly 1 in every 7 Indians suffers from mental illnesses of varying severity. The most common mental illnesses were depression and anxiety disorders, which affected 45.7 million and 44.9 million individuals, respectively. According to National Mental Health Survey conducted in 2015-16, 15% of Indian adults require treatment for one or more mental health issues. According to the report, 1 out of every 20 people is depressed, and 1 out of every 40 people has previously experienced depression. The subsequent pandemic has only made things worse. Many non-profit organisations (NGOs) have stepped up in recent years to assist and promote awareness about mental diseases. Here are a few of them, according to GiveIndia:

1. The MINDS Foundation

The MINDS Foundation is a non-profit organisation established in Telangana that takes a grassroots approach to eradicate stigma and offering medical, educational, and emotional support to patients with mental illnesses in rural India. In addition, the foundation conducts continuing research and develops curricula to improve mental health education.

MINDS has enhanced the level of mental health education and treatment since its inception in 2010, overcoming a variety of hurdles faced by rural health workers across the country. The organisation focuses on social workers providing community-wide education in each village; providing free, effective treatment for any mentally challenged individual who requests help; and assisting each patient in reintegrating back into the local community following treatment.

2. The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF)

Indian Actor Deepika Padukone launched the Live Love Laugh Foundation in 2015 intending to provide hope to anyone suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression. The Foundation uses its connections and large network to raise awareness, normalise conversations, and aim to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness. It combines domain expertise and knowledge to curate and communicate information that is easily digestible by any audience. All of the Foundation's programmes are carried out and implemented through collaborations and partnerships with other mental health organisations.

3. Jai Vakeel Foundation and Research Centre (JVF)

The Jai Vakeel Foundation and Research Centre (JVF), which has been helping people with intellectual disabilities for 75 years, is the oldest and largest non-profit in the country. What started as a small house in Mumbai's Sewri to educate and treat a few children has grown to a two-acre complex with two rural branches in the Pune and Nashik regions. Every year, JVF serves over 3,000 individuals of all ages with varying degrees of intellectual and developmental disabilities such as autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and visual or hearing impairment. JVF provides holistic services in the areas of healthcare, education, skill development, and support services to help the mentally ill integrate into society.

4. Ashadeep

Ashadeep was founded in 1996 to assist individuals with mental illnesses and their families through local rehabilitation institutions in Indian north-eastern states. The Ashadeep Day Rehabilitation Centre has provided education, counselling, and training in sports and vocational activities to over 360 people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities. Over 600 mentally ill individuals who were homeless were sheltered and treated in rehabilitation centres, with 550 of them reuniting with their families. The Outdoor Psychiatric Clinic and Outreach Camps have served over 1000 patients in Guwahati and over 2,000 patients in rural Assam.

5. Neptune Foundation

Neptune Foundation, founded in 2010, has aided in the economic development of vulnerable people in local communities and society at large. The Foundation seeks out mentally ill homeless people and those walking the streets, adopts them, and provides for their care. The organisation tracks down their relatives and reunites them once they've been treated and regained their memories. They also cover the expense of lifelong medication for those reunited individuals who cannot afford it. Individuals suffering from mental illnesses are also given vocational training until their families can be found and reunited. Vocational training serves as a mental stimulant, allowing people to continue working once they return home.

6. The Banyan

The Banyan, based in Chennai, provides mental health services to the destitute and homeless in Maharashtra, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. Housing in rural and metropolitan areas, hospital-based care, and community and clinic-based mental health solutions are among the services offered. The Foundation's efforts are focused on ensuring that homeless individuals with mental health issues return to their families, re-enter jobs, restore social contacts, and pursue lives however they want. Sponsorship of psychiatrists and doctors for in-house patients is one of its programmes. The Banyan runs clinics in rural and urban areas, rescuing and assisting mentally ill people.

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