The COVID-19 pandemic has increased mental health problems worldwide in people of all ages. The stigma associated with mental health issues makes the situation in India all the more alarming.
According to a 2017 Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) report, nearly one in seven persons suffers from mental disorders of varying severity in India. Depression and anxiety disorders were the most prevalent, affecting 45.7 million and 44.9 million people, respectively.
A National Mental Health Survey in 2015-16 stated that 15% of adults in India require treatment for one or more mental health disorders. The survey also states that one in 20 people are depressed, and 1 in 40 have experienced depression in the past. The ensuing pandemic has worsened the situation.
Over the years, many non-profit organisations (NGOs) are now coming forward to help and raise awareness about mental illnesses. According to GiveIndia, here are some of them:
The MINDS Foundation
The MINDS Foundation is a Telangana based non-profit with a grassroots approach to eliminating stigma and providing medical, educational and moral support for patients with mental issues in rural parts of India. The foundation also conducts ongoing research and develops curricula to increase education about mental health.
Since it was created in 2010, MINDS has increased the level of mental health education and treatment, overcoming various challenges for rural health workers in the country. The organisation focuses on community-wide education in each village by social workers; provides free, effective treatment for any mentally challenged person who wishes to receive assistance and helps each patient reintegrate into the local community after treatment.
The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF)
The Live Love Laugh Foundation was founded in 2015 by actor Deepika Padukone and aims to give hope to every individual experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression. The Foundation utilises its visibility and extensive network to create awareness, normalise conversations and reduce the stigma associated with mental health. It combines knowledge and domain expertise to carefully curate and disseminate information that is easily consumable to any audience.
All the Foundation’s programmes are conducted and implemented through collaborations and partnerships with similar organisations working in the field of mental health.
Jai Vakeel Foundation and Research Centre
The 75-year-old non-profit Jai Vakeel Foundation and Research Centre (JVF) is the oldest and largest non-profit working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. What began from a small house to educate and give therapy to a few kids has expanded to a two-acre campus in Mumbai’s Sewri, with two rural branches in Pune and Nashik districts.
JVF caters to more than 3,000 people per year across age groups and varying levels of intellectual and developmental disabilities like autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and visual or hearing impairment.
To integrate the mentally ill into mainstream society, JVF provides holistic services under four broad categories of healthcare, education, skill development and support services.
Founded in 1996, Ashadeep’s mission is to assist people with mental disorders and their families through local rehabilitation facilities in the northeastern states of India.
Over 360 individuals with mental illness and intellectual disability have received an education, therapy, and training in sports and vocational activities in the Ashadeep Day Rehabilitation Centre. Over 600 homeless mentally challenged people have been housed and treated in rehabilitation centres, of which 550 have been reintegrated with their families. Over 1000 people in Guwahati and more than 2,000 in rural areas of Assam have benefited through its Outdoor Psychiatric Clinic and Outreach Camps.
Established in 2010, Neptune Foundation has contributed to the economic development of vulnerable people in local communities and society at large.
The Foundation identifies the mentally challenged destitute people wandering on the streets, adopts them, and arranges their treatment. Once they are cured and regain their memory, the organisation traces their families and reunites them. In addition, they pay for the lifelong medication cost of those reunited individuals who cannot afford medication.
Individuals with mental health issues are also imparted vocational training until their family is traced and reunited. Vocational training acts as a mental stimulant and helps them continue doing work even after returning home.
Based in Chennai, The Banyan provides care for the poor and homeless individuals with mental health issues in Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The services include housing in rural and urban neighbourhoods, hospital-based care, and community and clinic-based mental health solutions.
The Foundation focuses on transformative social justice and its efforts ensure that homeless people with mental health problems make journeys back to families, re-enter work, reclaim social relationships and pursue lives of their choice. Its programmes include sponsoring psychiatrists and doctors for in-house patients. The Banyan operates rural and urban clinics, rescuing and serving mentally challenged patients.
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