Changing conversations on mental health

Over the last year, we created resource guides on two important topics. Our COVID-19 and Mental Health Guide speaks to identifying and dealing with stress, anxiety, uncertainty and isolation, which may be prevalent in the time of the pandemic. Also included are how-to guides on stealth mindfulness and a grounding technique, that can help while experiencing stress and anxiety.

Our resource guide on Cyberbullying and Mental Health addresses young people, who may experience or have experienced cyberbullying. It explores the concept of cyberbullying, how it affects mental health and the steps survivors can take.

As a funding agency ourselves, we believe that funders should invest in organisational well-being. We believe that there are various ways funders can do this with their partners . Raj and Priti wrote an article in IDR, exploring the ways in which funders can invest in the well-being of organizations.

Priti was invited to be a member of the Funding and Policy Council of a new initiative called Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Crises: Setting Consensus-Based Research Priorities for 2021-2030. The initiative is aimed at developing a research agenda for mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian settings for the next decade (2021-2030) and is funded by UK’s Department for International Development, the Wellcome Trust and the UK’s National Institute for Health Research.

Raj got inducted into the Advisory Board of the Lancet Commission on stigma and discrimination. As part of the Board, they will provide strategic support on the Commission report and recommend related work that can be included in the Commission, especially in languages other than English. 

Raj also became part of the advisory board for Global Mental Health Action Network, an initiative by the UK-based United Global Mental Health, a community of mental health professionals from across the world to improve support of mental health globally.

The London School of Economics’ Mental Health Collective had organised a webinar on ‘International Experiences of Mental Health’ in partnership with Amnesty International on March 2. Raj participated in the event, speaking on mental health discourse in the Indian context as well as policy interventions and accessibility issues in mental health care.

Our 2020 issue of Reframe, a yearly journal, dealt with the theme ‘Beyond Clinical Contexts’. The theme was particularly significant this year, with accessing mental health care in institutional settings becoming a more risky proposition than usual, much of therapy and clinical practice have shifted to phone or video. As with every issue, the issue of Reframe is meant to challenge dominant discourses and explore diverse voices within the mental health space. 

Priti facilitated a workshop on mental well-being organised by Ashoka Centre for Social Innovation and Philanthropy. She spoke of the need to view mental health as a spectrum: from well-being to disability. Priti also spoke about the unique mental health stressors that exist in the NGO sector today and how non-profit organizations need to take a  close look at the culture within their organisations to reflect on how it may be amplifying or reducing stressors among employees.