Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice (QACP)

A Resource Book for Mental Health Practitioners in India

Ketki Ranade, Shruti Chakravarty, Pooja Nair, Gauri Shringarpure

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About MHI

Intersecting Circles Diagram
This diagram shows two intersecting circles. One circle is titled biomedical factors and the other circle is titled psychosocial factors. The area at their intersection is titled mental health. MHI understands mental health as an intersection of biomedical factors and psychosocial factors.

Mariwala Health Initiative (MHI)
is a funding agency for innovative mental health initiatives, with a particular focus on making mental health accessible to marginalized persons and communities.

MHI is concerned with:

Capacity Building

Law & Policy
Human Rights

Lived Experiences

What we do

How MHI works: infographic
This infographic helps to understand how MHI works. MHI dialogues and collaborates with National and International organisations and funders. We partner with service providers, researchers and activists by providing funding, direct aid and engaging in dialogue. Through our partners, we reach state and civil society, namely the government, institutions and communities. All of this builds public mental health and will be critical in helping us reach our goal of building a mental health ecosystem.

MHI's Focus

This points to the importance of building mental health services that may be availed of easily by marginalized individuals and communities, and that take into account systemic oppressions based on caste, class, ability, age, region, gender, sexuality, religion.
Mental health becomes a fundamental human rights issue when we think about the necessity of informed consent, and also about the lack of general awareness with respect to options and rights. We need, then, to work towards — to be advocates for — reforms in law and policy in the area of mental health, from a human rights perspective.
Raising awareness around mental health necessitates that we see it in its psychosocial context rather than through a pathologizing lens. This involves questioning narrow definitions, seeing it instead as a spectrum ranging from well-being to common or severe mental health disorders. Such an accepting approach is sensitive and non-discriminatory towards realities arising from caste, class, ability, age, geographical location, religion, gender, sexuality, and other common axes of marginalisation, enabling us to embrace people with different mental health needs.
MHI works with partners to meet the mental health needs of individuals and communities through counseling and awareness initiatives. For a holistic and affirming ecosystem, legal and state institutions, educational and medical curricula, various public services, must all be nudged to play their roles as well. Also envisaged are a robust network of referrals between mental health providers, and linkages to other social services – thus ensuring a continuum of care, while also addressing the needs and challenges of carers.
An intersectional approach is based on an understanding of how systemic inequalities and structural barriers may, and often do, impact our mental health. Many studies have shown that marginalized communities are more susceptible to mental health stressors. We believe that mental health touches not only individuals, or families, but affects livelihoods and communities too, which must be taken into account when countering stigma, drafting policy, making services more accessible to all.
We work with the belief that individuals must have a say in their own mental health care, not just doctors – who often enforce a certain authoritative, and impersonal, recovery model.

Our Impact

Reached out to
more than
4.6 lakh people
in India
1.8 lakh people accessed counselling
2.3 lakh people
took part in
Using a set of key ideas and beliefs to inform and prioritise our work, we were motivated to create a big picture of mental health, which moves away from narrow medical definitions, and signals a shift towards more inclusive, holistic, and empathetic practices.


Training for transgender persons to provide peer support
Date: 10.03.22

A three-day peer support practice workshop organised by the Social Justice department for 30 people from the transgen...

Mental health in India: Community-based interventions as the answer to India’s mental health burden
Date: 04.03.22

As a community comes together to address the unique stressors they experience, in conjunction with linkages and refer...

From burnout to LGBTQIA+ representation: Toolkit highlights mental health needs at workplaces
Date: 23.01.22

The toolkit underlines the psychosocial and intersectional approaches to mental health and provides a framework to or...

एक जरूरी विमर्श से मुंह मोड़े बैठा समाज
Date: 23.12.21

एक बेहतर शासन-व्यवस्था में आंकड़े काफी अहमियत रखते हैं। इनके संग्रह का उद्देश्य किसी समस्या का ठोस समाधान ढूंढ़ना होता है। ले...

Pandemic offers opportunities to scale up interventions in promotive mental health of youth: Experts
Date: 17.12.21

CorStone in collaboration with SNEHA organised a webinar on ‘Post-Pandemic Roadmap to Resilience- Strengthening Menta...