With over three decades of work with youth, Samvada recognises the importance of mental health for the overall wellbeing of young people across social groups. Their engagement with marginalised youth (including Dalit, Muslim, women, queer and disabled youth) has made it evident that their particular socio-political circumstances has impacts on mental health. Samvada is therefore committed to providing an ecosystem of mental health care alongside the mental health capacity-building work of Baduku Center, and are embedding conversations on mental health across professions, and in their youth sensitisation and leadership development work, too.
Project with MHI
MHI partners with Samvada on a three-fold project to build capacities on mental health work amongst marginalized youth in Karnataka, and provide mental health care for Samvada youth: (1) ongoing support for the “Gender Development Practitioners Course with Counselling Skills and Mental Health Perspectives” course, (2) introducing counselling systems for Baduku students and youth across Samvada programs, (3) strengthening the mental health and self-care aspects of their core curriculum workshops across all courses and other Samvada programs.
The “Gender Development Practitioners Course with Counselling Skills and Mental Health Perspectives” course has been running through Baduku’s Centre for Wellness and Justice since 2009, alongside other courses on gender justice. The course aims to strengthen grass-roots organisations with trained and sensitised personnel whose commitment to women’s and other marginalized genders’ empowerment and wellbeing is rooted in a critical social and cultural analysis, and structural understanding of mental health, and whose skills include counselling, mediation, mobilisation and advocacy. Objectives of the course are:
- To deepen participants’ understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic contexts of the communities with which they work in order to equip them with the critical perspectives necessary to work with marginalized communities. Included in this emphasis is an understanding of the critiques that feminist therapy has to offer to mainstream mental health discourses, and a robust grasp of the concept of women’s and other marginalized genders’ wellness.
- To enhance the technical skills of the participants as mental health promoters/counsellors and advocates. This includes the key skills of non-judgmental and empathetic listening, mediation, networking and referral, women’s mobilisation, sensitisation and advocacy for gender justice.
- To inculcate amongst the participants the ethic of reflexivity and ‘work on the self’. To imbue the participants with the ability to critically evaluate and redefine values, aspirations and worldviews, and promote key life skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, decision making, and problem solving skills for self- care and personal wellbeing.