About Us

Our Story

In India, mental health is largely limited to the identification, treatment and referral of people suffering from mental illnesses. A deep stigma is attached to mental concerns and this has shaped the way people understand and access mental healthcare.


This was the realisation the founder trustees had after working in hospitals for years. They saw how their interventions had limited reach and it only benefitted people who were either psychologically sophisticated to seek help or those who had been referred after exhausting all other options.


Manas Foundation was a culmination of their vision to change the nature of mental health care in India and to make it accessible to every section of the society. The organisation was founded in 2000 and the team set up a general clinic to de-hospitalise mental health care and reduce the attached stigma. This proved to be a tremendous success with a large number of people seeking support from the clinical practice. Manas expanded from a one-room clinical setup in an abandoned building in GK-II to two adjacent flats in Khirki Extension. While working with regular psychological and psychiatric interventions, the founders realised that mental health care could be highly beneficial to children with special needs and Manas organically metamorphosed into a facility for special children.

 

After a few years, the founders reached a crossroad and had to make a decision on whether to go deeper to address the concerns of special children or move towards providing mental healthcare to other sections of the society.


And thus the mission statement of the foundation was established - “to make mental health services available to all sections of the society while working on both demand and supply side of services”. Manas enhances demand through awareness campaigns to reach out to a larger population, and trains and sensitises professionals and para-professionals to augment the supply of mental health services.

 

We hope to change how people perceive mental health care and support them in realising their full potentials.

Leadership


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Monica Kumar
Managing Trustee & Psychologist

One of the founding trustees of Manas Foundation and an Ashoka Fellow, Monica has worked extensively in mental health care in both hospitals and communities. She has been bridging the gap between provision and implementation of mental health service by integrating mental health care units in various settings like school structures and custodial care homes. She has been instrumental in defining the guidelines for mental health needs, child care, and protection policies for the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights [DCPCR].

She aspires to co-create a multi-tiered model of recovery for mental illness management and alleviation that are supported by the pillars of accessible and affordable preventive-promotive-recovery methods. She remains in continuous dialogue with the government and development institutions to build alliances for this co-creation.

She is a recipient of the EdelGive: Social Innovation Honor for her work with underprivileged women, using models of psycho-social rehabilitation and care. She serves as a member of the State Child Protection Society on the board of the Department of Women and Child Development [DWCD], Delhi and is a member of the governing body of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme [ICPS]. Monica is an alumnus of NIMHANS with an MPhil. In Medical and Social Psychology. 

Monica has worked with distressed populations including children and women afflicted with sexual/emotional/physical abuse and violence, juvenile delinquents, and trafficked children. Leveraging her diverse repertoire of skills and knowledge, Monica is now using unconventional mental health approaches in engaging men to create safe spaces for women. Along with the Manas team, she has been successfully implementing training and creating support systems for drivers of public transport in an attempt to create safe and accessible travel experience.

 


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Naveen Kumar
Trustee and Psychologist

A psychologist by choice and wanderer by nature, Naveen Kumar is one of the founding trustees of Manas. He has over 20 years of experience in providing mental health inputs to individuals and disadvantaged groups through his clinical practice and community outreach projects.He has been instrumental in conceiving the idea and process behind the key target interventions implemented by Manas to promote well-being and positivity for many vulnerable and volatile communities.

Naveen’s association as alumni of IMT Ghaziabad and Campus Law Faculty, Delhi University helped him build his understanding of the corporate and legal worlds. As his core area of interest, this experience enables him to effectively provide mental health care required for issues related to work situations, environmental stress and personal and professional relationships. 

His work is highly appreciated and recognised in the field of individual therapy, especially with marital problems, and resistant psychological issues of obsessions and addictions. He switched to psychology in 2000 and completed his Masters and training as a psychologist to follow his keen interest in human behaviour and the principles governing it. 




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Dr Amiya Banerjee
President Trustee & Psychiatrist

Dr Amiya Banerjee practices out of Greater Noida and has been a Consultant psychiatrist at VIMHANS, Delhi for 10 years. 

Dr Banerjee completed his Diploma in Psychiatry at NIMHANS, Bangalore and his MD at AIIMS, New Delhi. His subsequent work as a practising psychiatrist has taken him into roles and settings that have broadened his understanding of psychiatry. Dr Banerjee’s interest in people suffering from serious forms of mental illness like schizophrenia and mood disorders is in being able to provide them with sound diagnosis and treatment. This is possible when one integrates psychiatry with other branches of neuroscience since the mind is seated in the brain and is affected when brain structure or function is disturbed. Inspired by this thought, he developed the Behavioural Neurology Clinic where conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and Parkinson’s disease were jointly treated by the neurologist, psychiatrist and neuropsychologist. He worked closely with the neurosurgeons in situations like head injury, brain tumours and postoperative ICU care. 

Just as the mind is in the brain, the brain is in the body. Physical and brain illnesses are often intertwined. Dr Banerjee’s interest in these interfaces led him to collaborate with other medical specialists when he was a visiting Consultant at Escorts Heart Hospital and Dharamshila Cancer Hospital. Hospital based practice, however varied, offers but one perspective of the problems prevalent in the community at large. In 2000, Dr Banerjee along with Monica founded Manas spurred by their vision of a community based mental health initiative.

The field of mental health is ultimately about the person behind the disorder who needs to be understood by the person within the professional. With time, Dr Banerjee decided to pay equal attention to his personal journey and has been enjoying half marathons, playing midfield for his football club. His novel, ‘Rivers Past’, was published in 2012. After a small splash, it sank without a trace. His fascination towards Indian culture and natural landscapes has taken him and his backpack to magical places where. He tries to use these insights to enrich himself and those who come to him.

 

The Manas Team

 

 

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Ankita Gupta
Communications Manager

A scriptwriter, photographer, social media manager and video producer, with excellent communication and interpersonal skills, Ankita is actively involved in the development and implementation of Manas communications strategy. In addition to her communication work, Ankita plays a key role in fundraising and development of projects at Manas.

Before working at Manas, she worked as a freelance communication officer with National Geographic channel for their project ‘The Unlock Hour’. She has worked as an Associate Producer and Correspondent with Asian News International (ANI). She was also associated with Feminist Approach to Technology (FAT), Eicher and Volvo Trucks & buses and others. Ankita holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Journalism and Media studies which included curriculum about video and print media.

A baking enthusiast, she often creates delicious cakes and desserts, which she brings to the office, every so often, to treat her colleagues. She often roams around the city capturing interesting faces and their mighty expressions through her lens.

 


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Krita Raut

Program Manager

She coordinates with different centres and stakeholders for the gender sensitisation program at Manas. She manages the ideation and process planning for the program. She also takes part in organising different events held by the organisation. In addition, she is also actively involved with further expanding and developing the programs at Manas, using her years of experience and creativity in each aspect of her work.

A journalist by profession, Krita has covered a wide range of topics, from social issues to health, lifestyle, and art and culture in her decade-long career.  She’s worked for newspapers, magazines and websites in India as well as Nepal. Meeting people from diverse fields of work is something she has always enjoyed, as it has enriched her knowledge about life.

Books and food are the love of her life and she prefers to dedicate her free time to them. She also enjoys travelling and loves exploring, meeting new people and creating new experiences.

 


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Sunanda Jalote
Communication and Project Executive

Sunanda is part of the communications team at Manas Foundation. In addition to that, she is also involved in the campaign to provide gender sensitization trainings to commercial vehicle drivers in Delhi NCR, and the project to spread awareness about mental health. As a feminist and someone concerned with the status of mental health in the country, working at Manas Foundation allows her to learn and contribute to both mental health, and gender equality.

 

She graduated from the Young India Fellow, Ashoka University in 2016, and completed her Graduation in Psychology from Ambedkar University in 2015. Sunanda aims to be a Clinical Psychologist in the future and believes that Mental Health is one of the biggest concerns of the 21st century.

 

A certifiable water baby, Sunanda loves all activities connected to water. She is also an avid reader, which has made her believe that words have magic. She is also a dessert-lover, and could have sugary goodness anytime, for any meal. She is also very obsessed with the colour purple.



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Ujwalla Bhandari
Psychologist & Program Manager

At Manas, Ujwalla works on administering psycho-diagnostics and psychometric assessments, along with individual psychotherapy sessions. She’s played a key role in the development of Mental Health Curriculum for youth which is implemented through workshops in schools; she conducts these workshops as well. She has also been involved in conceptualising and delivering creative interventions that help widen the accessibility and scope of mental health services for individuals and groups. Her role also includes handling the in-house counselling requirements for the school and college counselling programmes on behalf of the organisation.

Ujwalla completed her Post Graduation in Applied Psychology from Delhi University, in 2013 and has been working at Manas Foundation since.

In her free time, she loves writing non-fiction and poetry.  Ujwalla is always in search of ways to bring creative expression into her practice of psychology as a profession.

 


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Sneha Jain
Psychologist

Sneha is actively involved with implementation of various school-based mental health programmes, along with capacity building training to current mental health professionals and paraprofessionals in the field. Her job profile at Manas also includes administering psycho-diagnostics and psychometric assessments and individual psychotherapy sessions. Working at Manas has helped her understand the practical feasibility and field application of the various theoretical concepts.

Before joining Manas, Sneha worked with adolescents from diverse socio-economic backgrounds at the Adolescent Guidance Service Centre in the National Institute for Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD), Delhi. She holds a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology with specialisation in Counselling from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. During her fieldwork, she worked with juveniles and children in need of care and protection in the shelter homes in Mumbai. She hopes to continue working towards building capacities and adaptive rehabilitation for this population.

Being an avid reader, she enjoys reading, devouring thrillers whenever time allows, with a steaming cup of strong coffee on the side.



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Vedha Chopra
Psychologist

At Manas, Vedha works on administering psycho-diagnostics and psychometric assessments, along with conducting individual psychotherapy sessions. She is also a part of the team that implements the mental health curriculum at various schools in Delhi NCR and provide capacity building training to current mental health professionals across the city.

She has done her Masters in Psychology from Faculty of Arts, Delhi University, with specialisation on neuro-developmental and socio-emotional concerns that children and adolescents might encounter.

She believes that in every new interaction there is a possibility of learning and growth for both the people involved and she hopes to assist people in exploring and actualizing their self. Being an animal lover and an aspiring child psychologist Vedha feels that empathy is the key to meaningful relationships.

 


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Meenakshi Chopra
Clinical Psychologist

Meenakshi works at the Mental Health Unit of Manas at Children Home for Boys, Lajpat Nagar. She conducts individual psychotherapy sessions, play therapy, group therapy and workshops with the boys of the shelter home. These sessions and workshops focus on management of current stressors, interpersonal concerns, and other adolescence-related issues to help them in adjusting to life at the home and at school. Concurrently, she also works to promote psychological strengths and building resilience, with the long-term objective to enable the boys to lead productive and emotionally healthy lives outside the home.

She completed her Masters in Psychology from Punjabi University, Patiala and her M. Phil in Clinical Psychology from Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), University of Delhi. 

She feels that simple gestures such as a smile can often do wonders in easing psychological distress and instilling hope in people going through difficult situations. When not at work, she likes to engage with the lighter side of life, by watching sitcoms and trying out cuisines from around the world.



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Jayati Singh
Psychologist

Jayati is a part of the team of psychologists at the Mental Health Unit at Nirmal Chhaya Complex. She mostly works with clients requiring crisis intervention and those undergoing psychiatric treatment. She employs innovative approaches in her sessions and particularly prefers the humanistic and psychodynamic school of thought.

Jayati completed her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Delhi University. She has worked with juvenile rape offenders for her Master’s dissertation which made her keenly interested in understanding attachment patterns in early childhood.

She is a passionate painter and loves reading all sort of books.

 


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Sanchita Johri
Psychologist

Sanchita also works at the mental health unit at Nirmal Chhaya Complex. Working with the marginalised population motivates her to work towards the betterment of children and adolescents. She applies client centred and humanistic approach in therapy.

Previously, she worked towards the behavioural development of children from the urban slums in South-Delhi region. And during her internship at NIPCCD, she used play therapy with children with special needs. She also conducted family therapy sessions where she focused on bridging the communication gap between parents and adolescent children. She’s completed her graduation and post-graduation in Applied Psychology from the University of Delhi.

She explores her creativity through words and colours to express herself.

 


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Teena Yadav
Liaison Officer & Trainer  

A part of the ‘Barabari ki Dagar… Surakshit Safar’ team, Teena’s role is to liaison with the different government departments that Manas is working in collaboration with the program. She’s also involved in the formulation of training modules, reports and data analysis of the project.

Prior to Manas, she’s worked with the KD Singh Foundation and other NGOs in providing legal, medical and rehabilitation assistance to the survivors of sexual assault cases. Teena’s educational qualification includes LLB, a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Double Masters in Hindi and Sanskrit.

Beyond her work, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, watching movies and trying out new recipes.



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Pramod Kumar Pandey
Psychologist & Senior Trainer

He is a key member of the team, ‘Barabari ki Dagar, Surakshit Safar’, to provide Gender Sensitization training to commercial drivers in Delhi NCR. In order to create psychological and behavioural change, to ensure equal and safe public spaces in transport, he has used his expertise in psychology in the creation of the curriculum, in order to make them as effective as possible.

Prior to Manas, Pramod worked with Unique Psychological Services, Subharti Medical College, Apollo Hospital and HCR Institute as a Psychologist and Special Educator. He has a master’s degree in psychology from VBSPU, Jaunpur and PG Diploma in Guidance and Counselling from Davi Ahilya Viswavidyalaya, Indore.

Outside of the office, he likes to work with children with special needs and enjoys singing songs, bhajans and playing the Dhol.

 


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Achyuta Nanda
Social Worker & Senior Trainer

Achyuta Nanda is actively involved in capacity building of the ‘Barabari ki Dagar… Surakshit Safar’ team and monitoring the fieldwork. He also conducts gender sensitization training at one of the centres.

Achyuta Nanda is a national level trainer under Eksaath Abhiyan; he attended a national level TOT on Gender Justice and Masculinity. He has done his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work from National Institute of Social Work and Social Sciences (NISWASS), Bhubaneswar. Before working at Manas, he worked with Gram Vikas, Deepalaya and FHFI as co-coordinator, counsellor and researcher.

In his free time, Achyuta Nanda likes to play badminton and keeps himself updated with what’s happening in the world through social media.

 


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Ratika Sharma
Social Worker & Senior Trainer

Along with conducting the gender sensitization training, Ratika involvement with the ‘Barabari ki Dagar… Surakshit Safar’ extends to raising funds for the program, capacity building of the team and creating content.

She holds a degree in NGO Management from Jamia Milia Islamia and in Developmental Therapy from School of Rehabilitation Science, AADI.

Ratika is passionate about travelling and she is always ready to explore new places and learn something new from such trips.

 


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Uroosa Khatoon
Counselling Psychologist & Senior Trainer

A key member of the ‘Barabari ki Dagar, Surakshit Safar’ team, Uroosa has been involved in the content creation for the gender sensitisation training. She used her experience and psychological expertise to create attitudinal and behavioural changes in gender inequality among the drivers.

Before Manas, she worked as a counselling psychologist with Salaam Baalak Trust, Centre for Equity Studies and Kendra Vidyalaya. She also conducted therapies with children and adolescents with trauma and other mental illnesses. Uroosa has completed her Masters in Psychology from Aligarh Muslim University as well as a P.G Diploma in Counselling Psychology.

She believes that children are the building blocks of our future world and they need all the love and education they can get. Uroosa is also a theatre aficionado and enjoys being a performance artist.



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Namrata Sharan
Social Worker &  Senior Trainer

Namrata is a part of the ‘Barabari ki Dagar... Surakshit Safar’ team and conducts gender sensitization training for commercial drivers in Delhi NCR. She is also involved in project development and through her work, at Manas, she hopes to stop the gender inequality between men and women.

Her perception about lives and challenges of today’s women changed while working for a talk show called Nari. Namrata has a Master’s Degree in Philosophy and a diploma in Mass Communications and a basic career counselling course.

Namrata is also a poet and pens down beautiful verses in Hindi, which she often shares with the team.

 


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Piyali Mallick
Social worker & Trainer

In Manas, Piyali is currently a member of the project, ‘Barabari ki Dagar, Surakshit Safar’, to provide Gender Sensitization training to commercial drivers in Delhi NCR. These everyday interactions with drivers through the trainings helps her gain a deeper understanding of the way of thinking of the commercial vehicle drivers. She uses this understanding, to help change the beliefs and attitudes to challenge and change the patriarchal attitude of the society.

Before joining Manas, Piyali worked as a counsellor for survivors of domestic violence in North East Delhi in Centre for Social Research. Her role also included accompanying them to needed services such as Police Station, Protection Officer, CAW Cell, District court and assisting them to the medical services. She has completed her B.A in Political Science from Delhi University and M.A in Gender, Culture and Development studies from Pune University.

Piyali is an avid reader and likes to collect books on Gender and Sexuality. She also writes reviews on popular cultural themes of movies and books.

 


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Rohit Kumar
Social Worker & Trainer

Rohit is a trainer under the ‘Barabari ki Dagar, Surakshit Safar’ program and he’s also involved in the further development of the project, as well as content for the workshops.

Before Manas, he worked at the grassroots level in the rural areas of Haryana in the field of microfinance with an aim to uplift the role and status of women within the society. Rohit has completed his Masters in Women and Gender Studies from School of Gender and Development, IGNOU where he conducted a study on the differences and biases seen in gender segregation.

Rohit is quite keen on learning more about gender inequalities and human sexuality, especially homosexuality, and continues researching on these subjects when he can.

   

 
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