MHI believes in a multi-pronged and intersectional approach to mental health care.

We seek to partner with agencies that aim to make mental health services accessible to the most marginalised communities and persons, building resilience and agency while working to reduce risk factors in vulnerable populations; we also support advocacy for reforms in law and policy.

Who we work with

Law and Policy Makers
Anjali works with the Dept of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of West Bengal, with various panchayats and municipalities in the state, and with media and civil society. Through its rights-based programs and policy initiatives, Anjali works towards three long-term objectives: establishing mental health within the mainstream health and development discourse in India; enabling progressive shifts in dignity and quality in the lives of people with psycho-social disabilities so that they are perceived as "full citizens" within institutions, families, and communities; fostering training and networks that encourage new talent, perspectives and leaders to emerge in the mental health sector. Know more >
Founder Deepa Pawar’s own struggles from a young age against extreme poverty, gender violence, and caste oppression, led her to work in areas such as sexual and reproductive health, safety, and education, with gender equity as the driving force. She met like-minded women, and together they set up Anubhuti with the goal of developing grassroot youth leaders like themselves. Anubhuti works closely with youth and women living in resource-deprived urban and rural communities in Mumbai and Thane districts. Given that these groups face mental distress due to multiple marginalisations, mental health interventions form a major part of Anubhuti’s work. Know more >
Bapu Trust, based in Pune, creates, pilots and monitors community inclusion programs that aim to enable the autonomy and independence of persons living with mental health issues. It works towards linking people with development services and provides modular interventions to address a matrix of needs. Bapu Trust advocates for change in the structural, social, legal and policy environments, to create justice environments for people with psycho-social disabilities. Its flagship programs include 'Seher',  a comprehensive urban mental health inititiative that works to facilitate the creation of caring communities via a range of partnerships with both governmental and non-governmental agencies. Know more >
Basic Needs India works to bridge the gap between the government and communities by strengthening community mental health services. BNI’s model is to work through existing, grassroots, community-based organizations and build their capacity to identify and address the needs of those living with mental illnesses, as well as build community support for those with psychosocial disabilities. MHI funds BNI’s work spanning five districts across Odisha and Maharashtra — with a focus on strengthening community-based integrative care of persons with mental Illness and their families. Through the program identified persons living with a mental illness will have access to Government-provided Mental Health Care and will be reintegrated with their families and community. BNI will also work to enhance community awareness and strengthen community support systems, through training programs for partner organizations, mental health volunteers, alternate service providers and public health para-professionals. The organization will offer psychoeducation to families, as well as promote family support groups to demand for government services and entitlements from available schemes. BNI will also link with disability and health movements at the local and State level, sensitize media, police and judiciary on destigmatization. Know more >
Bebaak, meaning 'Voices of the Fearless', was founded as an informal association of grassroots activists in 2013 to advocate for the rights of Muslim women. It was a platform for engaging with feminist thought and practice, human rights issues, and the anti-discrimination struggle. Over time, with the rising onslaught against marginalised communities, particularly Muslims, Bebaak Collective evolved into an advocacy group. Systemic discrimination, communal violence and ingrained social prejudice takes a significant toll on the mental health of the Muslim community — in particular that of Muslim women, who confront multiple axes of oppression. Muslims self-report high incidence of emotional stress, fear and insecurity. Bebaak Collective works in partnership with MHI to facilitate access to affordable mental health services for under-resourced Muslim communities, as well as to sensitize mental health practitioners on minority distress stemming from social exclusion and deprivation. Know more >
Burans is a partnership project of the Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) with the Community Global Health Network that started in 2014. EHA has been working in Uttarakhand for more than 80 years, running a hospital that provides low-cost and effective health services for rural and low-income families with a large catchment area. Burans project has identified and supported over 1000 people with psycho-social disabilities in Dehradun district and facilitated access to care (either psychiatric or psycho-social community based support) for these people with an intensive home support program. Beyond these families, Burans has trained over 1,000 ASHA workers in mental health and epilepsy. The organization’s activities in increasing mental health awareness have highly impacted help-seeking behaviour patterns and are likely to be a factor in a reported five-fold increase in people attending the outpatient department at the State Mental Hospital in Selaqui. Know more >
The Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy (CMHLP) aims to protect and promote the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities using a rights-based approach to mental health. It works with different stakeholders including people with lived experience, caregivers, mental health professionals, policymakers, civil society organisations and researchers. CMHLP works nationally and internationally with a specific focus on vulnerable and marginalised populations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Know more >
Children spend more time in school than in any other formal institutional structure, so schools play a primary role in cognitive, emotional and behavioural development of children. Supportive and positive relationships among peers, with teachers and family members — have been found to protect against a range of adverse health and education outcomes for young people including depression, bullying, violence and academic performance. Professionals in educational settings can play a critical role in children's mental health as they may be in the best position to note changes in behaviour, including emerging mental health issues. The Broadleaf project in Darjeeling is training primary school teachers to deliver mental health care which increases access to care for children in low-resource settings. This MHI-funded model task-shifts mental health care to primary school teachers to allow them to deliver a therapeutic intervention to their selected students during school hours. The program aims to improve social, emotional, and academic outcomes for primary school students with mental health concerns. Know more >
In India’s criminal justice system, responsibility to survivors and victims of crime is limited to delivering sentences to perpetrators. Recognizing the limitations of the system to deliver on the other rehabilitation needs of survivors and victims, DISHA advocates with the government to activate and provide access to compensation schemes and other welfare schemes earmarked for such cases. Additionally, DISHA provides psychosocial aid and facilitates access to entitlements for survivors and victims of violent crimes such as rape, murder, attempted murder or serious injuries resulting in permanent disabilities and violence against women, children and elderly. DISHA works directly with these survivors and victims to provide legal aid, psychological counselling, financial assistance — through their social workers and by leveraging existing supportive mechanisms such as Bharosa Cell, District Trauma Committee and One Stop Crisis Center. Know more >
iCall began in 2012 as a project at the School of Human Ecology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. It provides confidential and free professional counseling via email and telephone, irrespective of age, gender, sexual orientation, caste, race, location – offering ongoing support to persons in distress until they feel empowered. iCall also conducts workshops and training for corporates, educational institutes, government agencies, and NGOs, to build greater awareness, or cater to specific organizational needs. It works with a special focus on marginalized sections — including women facing violence, abused children, LGBT communities, socioeconomically vulnerable groups, and survivors of mental illness. Know more >
Iswar Sankalpa primarily serves persons who are living on the streets through community-based interventions in low-resource, marginalized urban communities of Kolkata. As psychosocial disabilities both lead to and are exacerbated by homelessness, Iswar Sankalpa implements an Urban Mental Health Program (UMHP) to reduce stigma, enhance access to mental health services and build community and support networks. UMHP integrates mental health services within existing primary health centers in Kolkata, enabling accessible and affordable mental health care for marginalized communities. In addition to these preventive measures, the organization focuses on the integration and inclusion of homeless persons with psychosocial disabilities through community outreach work, shelters, livelihood training and family/community sensitization programs. Know more >
Jeeva Trust focuses on addressing issues around mental health, providing crisis intervention, livelihoods support, and creating community media for persons marginalized by gender identity and sexuality in Karnataka. Know more >
Kashmir Lifeline (KLL) has worked in the Kashmir Valley since 2011 providing free mental health care and psychoeducational services to over 25,000 clients and 8,500 program participants. Years of conflict in Kashmir have fuelled traumatic levels of distress and unaddressed mental health issues as is often seen in communities subjected to similar extended periods of unrest and violence. To address and mitigate some of these issues, KLL’s care protocols are integrative, organic and built to provide complete mental health support to their clients. KLL adopts a two-pronged approach to mental health, offering both curative and preventive services. Curative services are designed for those living with mental health issues — and include a free and confidential telephone helpline, face-to-face counselling through the main clinic in Srinagar and outreach centers at government hospitals in three districts of Kashmir valley. Kashmir Lifeline’s preventive services aim to reduce stigma and help communities in the region understand mental health. Know more >
Mann, based in Mumbai, is dedicated to training young adults living with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism. In partnership with MHI, Mann will implement a year-long caregivers’ support program that includes counselling sessions and transition plans, to equip family members and caregivers with information about available resources and beneficial coping strategies. This program aims to improve the quality of life of both the adult living with a disability as well as family members/caregivers. Know more >
Mental Health Action Trust (MHAT), founded in 2010, provides community-based and recovery-oriented mental health care totally free for economically marginalized individuals with severe mental health issues. MHAT services are availed by clients in eight districts of Kerala, across 46 community partnerships. These partnerships include government community health centres, various government departments such as the fisheries and the tribal departments, as well as local NGOs working across sectors such as health, palliative care and others. Know more >
Moitrisanjog Society is an organization working with transgender communities and persons from other marginalized genders in Cooch Behar, West Bengal since 2009. Moitrisanjog, meaning “a network to connect friends”, started as an informal support group. By cultivating networks of persons from marginalized genders, Moitrisanjog has now evolved into a community-based organization working closely with local government bodies to advocate for the rights of trans people. Their primary objective is to provide a supportive network to persons from marginalized genders and sexualities to ensure equal opportunity to live a fulfilling life. Alternative Livelihood programmes, accessible health and counselling services, advocacy for access to education, short-term shelter support and legal aid are some of their core areas of work. Sensitization and public education on issues of gender and sexuality is another important pillar of its work. MHI is supporting their continued work on outreach and support - drop in centres staffed by a social worker/counsellor and a helpline, hosting safe spaces for community gatherings, and continued crisis support work. Know more >
Nirangal was established in 2012 by LGBT community activists Siva and Sankari and has been running crucial crisis support programs, peer support and referral programs for LGBTQI+ communities in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring regions. These programs work to address a wide range of issues that LGBTQI+ people face: anxieties about “coming out;” consequences of disclosure about gender identity and/or sexual orientation; being subjected to threat, blackmail, and extortion; depression and anxiety; suicidality; and more. Nirangal has also been involved in training and sensitization of key stakeholders, such as mental health and medical and legal professionals, student communities, and media professionals on affirmative practices and issues faced by the community. Recently re-registered as Nirangal Charitable Trust, it also engages in advocacy issues such as laws concerning LGBTIQA+ community members, and media representation of the community. MHI supports Nirangal’s peer support program, training and sensitization of mental health, medical, and legal professionals, as well as student communities in Chennai, Coimbatore, and Erode districts of Tamil Nadu. Know more >
Project Ohana is a pilot initiative that aims to holistically address mental wellbeing needs of Dalit women leaders through a short-term rest and restoration residential program. The initiative is unique in India, is designed by women from the community, and hopes to evolve as a self-led growing process towards sustaining social justice work. Know more >
Raahi endeavours to work towards creating a world where persons from marginalised genders and sexualities live a life free of violence and discrimination — a life with dignity, self-reliance and self-sustainability. Raahi works extensively with persons in crisis along with their allies on issues related to mental health stemming from their identity — providing shelter, legal and medical support, and support for the mental well-being for persons in crisis. Raahi also sensitises stakeholders such as family members, education systems, government bodies and mental health professionals on issues regarding communities marginalised by gender and sexuality. Raahi's mental health program includes training sessions with various groups and community organisations towards building a strong network and system for crisis intervention for communities marginalised by gender and sexuality. Know more >
Resource Cell for Juvenile Justice (RCJJ) is a Field Action Project under the ‘Centre for Criminology and Justice (CCJ) of TISS. It was set up with the objective of working on the issue of Children in Conflict With Law (CICL) in an affirmative manner, adopting a rights-based approach. Mental Health plays a very important role for a child in conflict with law. Children commit very heinous offence either because of a series of built up emotions which have not found a positive outlet—leading to trauma. Institutionalised children deal with several issues like violence, uncertainty of the future, temporary separation from family, change in food, clothing, living space etc. Their life changes overnight. All these are extremely emotionally and mentally taxing for any individual in the system. RCJJ uses research as a medium to highlight gaps in the Juvenile Justice system and advocate for better service provision and rights-adherence. Know more >
Samvada (established 1992) works with marginalized youth on youth leadership and development, education and livelihoods in Karnataka. In their Baduku Centre for Livelihood Learning, principles of feminist counselling drive their courses on counselling, which are both means to dignified livelihood for persons from marginalized backgrounds, and to building future mental health professions who work with a socio-political view on mental health and wellbeing. Baduku further provides education and livelihood support on 10 professions, including waste management, farming, journalism, and career counselling. Samvada works with the youth transformation model for social justice, supporting youth leaders with mentorship for their professional and personal lives, as well as various training examining systems of oppression such as the patriarchy, caste, communalism, etc. MHI partners with Samvada on Baduku’s “Gender Development Practitioners Course with Counselling Skills and Mental Health Perspectives”, providing mental health care on campus and self-care modules to all Baduku students. Know more >
Schizophrenia Awareness Association (SAA) was founded in 1997 by Dr. Jagannath Wani as a caregivers’ organisation for persons living with a mental illness, particularly schizophrenia, and their family members. SAA runs a Day Rehabilitation Center, as well as public awareness initiatives and advocacy campaigns. SAA has provided mental health care services to over 400 persons living with mental illnesses since inception, and currently has 40 clients utilising its Day Rehabilitation Center. SAA works from the premise that awareness helps in early detection of mental  illnesses and initiation of treatment before aggravation sets in. The organization therefore works on raising public awareness of mental illnesses  and reducing related stigma—via public discourse, multimedia communication, caregivers’ support groups etc. SAA also runs a Day Rehabilitation Center for persons with mental illness in Pune, to assist in rehabilitating via complementary/expressive therapies. Mariwala Health Initiative funds SAA’s Art-Based Therapy (ABT)  program which uses art forms in an evidence-based process within a therapeutic framework. Know more >
Shivar Foundation is a non-profit spearheaded by Vinayak Hegana, a young Agriculture Studies graduate from Kolhapur who has been working on the issue of farmer welfare in Osmanabad district, Maharashtra for the past six years. The Foundation addresses farmer mental health, farmer suicides, farmer welfare support and mental health support—by providing counselling and referral services to indebted farmers and their families. Shivar Foundation works through outreach centers known as Farmers’ Friends Centers to provide psychosocial support to farmers within Osmanabad district, Maharashtra. The Foundation serves as an intermediary, connecting indebted farmers and their family members to government agencies implementing farmer welfare schemes meant to serve distressed farmers—advocating for effective service delivery and policy implementation. Know more >
SNEHA’s adolescent health program, EHSAS, recognises that adolescence is a difficult time for individuals as they try to understand their identity, sexuality and at the same time make sense of the environment around them. SNEHA believes that gender-based power inequality lies at the root of concerns related to nutrition, sexual and reproductive health or mental health conditions. EHSAS addresses the health and wellbeing of adolescents and youth (10-21 years), enabling them to become healthy, gender sensitive and responsible citizens and creating an adolescent friendly ecosystem. The program builds resilience in the youth via sessions on health and hygiene, gender equity, sexuality and employability. EHSAS creates support structures for adolescents—in their homes, schools and communities—by sensitising parents, community members, school teachers and healthcare staff. The program also addresses adolescent’s mental health through providing counselling services and referrals to public healthcare facilities. Know more >
The broad aims of this project are: to develop and provide psychotherapeutic services to, and to promote the overall emotional well-being of, litigants in the 11 Family Courts in the state of Maharashtra; to initiate research on the marital concerns of the litigants, and the counseling interventions currently offered by family court counselors in the state, in order to arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of litigants’ needs and concerns, as well as to identify effective elements of the counseling process that would help to build a replicable model of effective intervention. Know more >
Working to address the structural violence and trauma faced by young people and women from marginalized backgrounds such as Dalit, Adivasi, and Muslim communities, WAYVE Foundation strives to empower youth and women from communities by developing grassroots leadership. Approaching community support as the agent of change, WAYVE Foundation trains and mentors community leaders on a number of issues concerning their fundamental and constitutional rights, rights related to education, economic participation, mental health, and more. MHI partners with WAYVE to support a year-long leadership training program with young women grassroots leaders and survivors from Dalit, Adivasi, and Muslim communities in Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, and Gujarat. Know more >
Ya_All is a Manipur-based collective that strives to create a support system for easy access to information and services in health, education and sexuality for adolescents and youth who identify as queer — given their vulnerability to mental health concerns, substance abuse and suicide. Ya_All is a youth-led and youth-focused collective that runs a youth and queer-friendly health resource hub/drop-in centre. The centre provides mental health care services through queer-friendly counsellors, and mental health professionals, free of cost. The resource centre also serves as an informal space for youth who identify as queer to interact with each other and build a support system and peer-network. Know more >