Mental health till recently was
largely limited to the identification, treatment and referral of people with
mental illnesses. This shaped the way people understood and accessed mental
health care. A deep stigma is attached to mental health illnesses and concerns
which strangulated the demand for psychological services that were available
only in hospitalized settings.
After working in hospitals, three
psychology and psychiatry professionals realized the limitations of the reach
of their interventions. Their work benefited people who were either
psychologically sophisticated to seek such help or to those who had been
referred after exhausting all other options. These three professionals decided
to come together to provide preventive, promotive and positive mental health
care that could benefit every section of the society and not be limited to
mental illnesses. Manas Foundation was a culmination of their vision to change
the nature of mental health care in India.
a general clinic was set-up to de-hospitalize mental health care and reduce the
attached stigma. This proved to be a tremendous success with large number of
people seeking support from their clinical practice. Manas expanded from a
one-room clinical setup in an abandoned building in GK-II to two adjacent flats
in Khirki Extension in the same year. While,
working with regular psychological and psychiatric interventions, the founders realized
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 crossroads 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. Manas aims 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 sensitizes professionals and para-professionals to
augment the supply of mental health services. Manas started BAREFOOT COUNSELING in the year2007.
gender-sensitization work with police personnel, which started in 2010-11, using
models of psycho-social and civic-legal perspectives have been adapted as an
integral aspect of the personnel training.
2014, Manas joined hands with Indraprastha Gas limited (IGL) to start a distinctive
training programme for public transport personnel, engaging men in taking
ownership of safety of their women passengers.
recently, in 2015, Manas has tied up with Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and UN Women to start Gender training for DTC Marshals.
We hope to change how people perceive
mental health care and support them in realising their full potentials.
Trustee & Psychologist
Monica Kumar is a practicing
psychologist, founding trustee of Manas Foundation and an Ashoka Fellow. She
has worked extensively in mental health service delivery in both hospitals and
communities. She founded Manas (2000) to extend mental health services to the
broader community specifically focusing on
resource-poor people. She has been bridging the gap between mental health
services’ provision and implementation 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 and
childcare and protection policies for the Delhi Commission for Protection of
Child Rights [DCPCR]. Monica 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
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]. She is an alumna of NIMHANS with an M Phil. in Medical and Social
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.
AMIYA BANERJEE Trustee & Psychiatrist
Dr. Amiya Banerjee is a
practicing psychiatrist and founding trustee of Manas Foundation. He practices
out of Greater Noida and has been a Consultant psychiatrist at VIMHANS, Delhi
for 10 years. Dr. Amiya completed his Diploma in Psychiatry at NIMHANS,
Bangalore and his MD at AIIMS, New Delhi. His subsequent work as a practicing
psychiatrist has taken him into roles and settings that have broadened his
understanding of psychiatry.
Dr. Amiya’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 neurosciences, 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 Behavioral 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 tumors and postoperative
Just as the mind is in
the brain, the brain is in the body. Physical and brain illnesses are often
intertwined. Dr. Amiya’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. Amiya 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. Amiya 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.
Trustee & Psychologist
A psychologist by
choice and wanderer by nature, Naveen Kumar is a practicing psychologist and
the founding trustee of Manas. He has over 15 years of experience in providing
mental health inputs to individuals and disadvantaged groups through his
clinical practice and community outreach projects.
Naveen 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.
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.
Naveen’s work is highly appreciated and
recognized in the field of individual therapy, especially with adolescent and
youth, 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 behavior and
the principles governing it.
The Manas Team
All the employees put their efforts to enhance the functioning of Manas and share their work. The work culture at Manas is healthy & joyful.
Dr. PRASHANT GOYAL
Prashant Goyal is a practicing psychiatrist with over 9 years of work
experience in clinical psychiatry. At Manas, Dr. Prashant manages the
psychiatric interventions for the Nirmal Chhaya project supporting
evaluation, assessments, and medical interventions as required. He has also
been building capacities of in-house caretakers with respect to understanding
symptoms and undertaking emergency patient management at Nirmal Chhaya.
Dr. Prashant has completed his MD in
Psychiatry from AIIMS followed by a 5-year work stint at the hospital. He
currently runs his own clinical psychiatry practice, specifically, focusing
on adult psychiatry, and substance abuse. Dr. Prashant’s aim is to expand
mental health services to communities looking at spreading awareness,
creating access to public health programmes and de-stigmatising mental
health. He is passionate about developing modules of care for caregivers of
patients suffering from chronic mental illness.
Shuchi Goel, Psychologist
Shuchi Goel is a practicing psychologist
conducting individual therapy sessions, clinical testing, family sessions,
and supporting programs at Manas. She is currently involved with an outreach
program for police personnel focusing on gender sensitization from a mental
health perspective. Shuchi is also a training coordinator for Building Bonds
providing gender-sensitization training for auto and taxi drivers.
4 years of experience, Shuchi has taken on herself to create and implement a
positive mental health curriculum. She is currently involved in the
conceptualization and implementation of the mental health curriculum for
schools at Manas. This includes year round workshops with students in the age
group of 8 to 17 years from the Sanskriti and the Air Force schools.
After completing her Masters in Psychology
from Osmania University, Hyderabad, Shuchi seeks to build capacities and
adaptive measures of rehabilitation for juvenile delinquents, marginalized
women and disenfranchised children. A traveller at heart, and an imaginative,
quick learner, she firmly believes that mental health is an integral part of
overall human well-being. Shuchi aims to spread this dictum amongst
communities, eradicating taboos and dogmas in the process.
Pradeep Kaur Grewal, Psychologist
Pradeep Kaur Grewal is a Psychologist at
Manas currently working at the Nirmal Chhaya Complex. Pradeep applies
cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and various other psycho social
interventions for homeless women and children. Her passion is to reintegrate
individuals with mental illness into the society. With keen interest in
providing quality of life, her focus lies in prevention-based work to create
spaces for expression of people with mental health issues.
Pradeep completed her Bachelor’s in Applied
Psychology from University of Delhi and completed her Master’s in Cognitive
science from Centre of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (CBCS), University
of Allahabad. Her broader area of interest lies in understanding
cognition-emotion interaction specifically in clinical populations using
psychometric techniques. She has hands on experience of EEG methodology and
is familiar with other behavioral techniques. Reading and talking to anyone
can keep her engrossed for hours.
Ujwalla Bhandari, Psychologist
Ujwalla Bhandari is a psychologist at Manas
with a passion to tackle psychological concerns that obstruct well-being at
different stages of human life. At Manas, she has worked on the development
of Mental Health Curriculum for youth and is part of the ongoing
workshop-based initiative for schools. Ujwalla is also involved in
conceptualizing and delivering creative interventions that help widen the
accessibility and scope of mental health services for individuals and groups.
Ujwalla administers the psycho-diagnostics
and psychometric assessments at the Manas clinic supporting clients on their
journeys to betterment. She also handles the in-house counseling requirements
for the college counselling programme. Ujwalla was part of the career
counseling for underprivileged adolescents and young adults project conducted
in collaboration with the Aga Khan Development Network, focusing on future
orientation and counseling needs. She completed her Masters in Psychology
from the Arts Faculty at Delhi University.
Working at Manas gives Ujwalla diverse and
daily opportunities to experience the various realities of mental health
services, engage with clients, and be a part of their growth and change. She
believes that beyond being a remedial service, therapeutic means to address
psychological issues actualize and enhance lives on both ends of the
relationship. Ujwalla loves writing non-fiction and poetry and works to bring
creative expression into her practice of psychology as a profession.
Achyuta Nanda Dyansamantara, Social
Achyuta Nanda is a trainer with Manas working
on the Building Bonds programme. He supports the gender-sensitisation training
of auto and taxi drivers apart from documentation, project management and
capacity building for other trainers. Achyuta has previously worked with Gram
Vikas, Deepalaya and PHFI supporting their counseling, project management and
Achyuta completed his masters in social work
from National Institute of Social Work and Social Sciences (NISWASS),
Bhubaneswar. He is passionate about exploring and learning from the different
socio-economical sections of the society across India. He enjoys watching
documentaries and loves playing cricket and badminton.
Namrata Sharan, Social Worker
Namrata Sharan is a project coordinator with
the Building Bonds programme, Burari at Manas. Apart from conducting trainings,
she is also responsible for the project management of the programme. Namrata
who has previously worked with several organizations, was behind the success of
enrollment of girl child at Deepalaya, which increased by more than 200%. She
was also behind the double-fold growth in ratings of the ETV Talk Show “Nari”
as a scriptwriter. The talk show went on to become the No. 1 daily talk show
Scripting on lives of personalities like
Sarojini Naidu and for the talk show “Nari” transformed Namrata’s perception of
lives and challenges of today’s women. As she became aware of the ground
realities while working for “Deepalya”, she decided to remove the gender
inequality between men and women. She hopes to change the way people think,
through her role with Building Bonds. Namrata has a masters in Philosophy apart
from a diploma in mass communications and a basic career counseling course.
Ayesha Siddiqui is a psychologist with Manas and is working
at the mental health unit, Nirmal Chhaya Home for women and children. Ayesha
who is experienced in psycho social interventions, applies latest psychological
therapies to improve individual and group behaviours, emotional state and
feelings for a healthier life. She is a graduate in applied psychology from
Delhi University and a postgraduate in psychology from Amity University.
Ayesha has garnered enviable experience
during her internship at the Safdarjung Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital and
the Delhi Psychiatric Centre. This exposure at the grass root has ignited her
mind to create accessibility to mental health services for the socially and
economically marginalised sections of the society. Ayesha hopes to create a
society where mental illness is not considered as a ‘stigma’, instead right to positive
mental health is secured for all. She believes in changing the present paradigm
where patient suffering from mental health is seen differently.
Ratika Sharma, Social
Ratika Sharma is a social worker with more than 5 years of
experience in special education, NGO operations and program coordination. She
holds a degree in NGO management from Jamia Milia Islamia and developmental
therapy from School of Rehabilitation Science, AADI.
At Manas, Ratika works as a trainer with the
Building Bond project and is involved in the gender-sensitization training for
auto and taxi drivers. She also supports the fundraising efforts for the team.
Ratika hopes to see a broader change in the society and work towards a safer
society for women by engaging men.
She is enthusiastic to learn and grow and
passionate about travel and the positive growth and development of people. She
believes that children and youth with mental health challenges have the right
to be loved, respected, supported, and included in their families and
communities. And, all agencies within communities must work as integrated
networks to meet the mental health needs of children and youth.
Rohit Kumar, Social
Rohit Kumar is a social worker and a trainer
with the Building Bonds project at Manas. He is involved in the
gender-sensitisation trainings for commercial drivers in Delhi. Rohit has
completed his Masters in Women and Gender Studies from School of Gender and
Rohit previously worked in Haryana providing
microfinance opportunities to women to uplift their roles and statuses within
the society. His larger goal is to continue his research studies on gender
inequalities and human sexuality. He believes that homosexuality has an
identity of its own and this is a very important and sensitive issue that is
not being looked into.
Shruti Ramakrishnan is a counselling
psychologist at Manas’ Mental Health Unit at Children Home for Boys, Lajpat
Nagar, a shelter home for boys of 10 - 18 years. Shruti holds a masters in
psychology from Delhi University and immensely enjoys working with these boys
who according to her are waiting to be discovered and guided through individual
and group sessions. A firm believer in nurturance, growth, equality and open
communication, she respects each child for their individuality and builds upon
their mental health to create spaces for growth and learning.
Shruti’s journey with psychology began at
school to help others discover and know themselves better thereby, leading a
healthy and holistic life. Working at Manas helped her bridge the gap between
theory and practice using a psychosocial perspective. When not working, Shruti
likes to observe and enjoy simple pleasures of life by spending time with
herself and close ones. She reflects on her own journey by reading, singing and
Choudhary, Clinical Psychologist
Suranjana Choudhary conducts psychological
assessments, psychotherapy and research based work at Manas apart from
workshops with school children. She also provides individual and group therapy
at Manas’ Mental Health Unit at Nirmal Chhaya Complex. Suranjana completed her
M.A. in Psychology from Delhi University and M. Phil. in Clinical Psychology
from Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), Delhi
University. She is keen to pursue an in-depth understanding of practicing
positive psychology, humanistic and existential psychology, social psychology,
adolescent mental health, and psychotherapy.
Suranjana endeavours to understand the
idiosyncratic experiences of clients, and the unique meaning that they give to
the turbulent phase of their life during which psychologists come into the
picture. She hopes to use the inimitable strength and potential of each client
as an aid in psychotherapy instead of failing to highlight the human aspects of
the battle with psychological distress. An issue, she observed amongst
clinicians rushing to list symptoms and the right category for diagnosis from
her initial experiences from clinical practice.
Suranjana is inspired by and accords with
Manas’ focus on viewing mental health through a positive lens, emphasis on the
“person” not the “illness”, and taking mental health care to the grassroots.
When not at work, she loves to remain engrossed with her personal psychological
journey through writing, reading, travelling, listening to music, and
Teena Yadav, Social Worker
Teena is a trainer at Manas and is involved
in the formulation of training modules, reports and data analysis for Building
Bonds. Prior to that, she worked with the KD Singh Foundation and other NGOs in
providing legal, medical and rehabilitation assistance for sexual assault cases
and creating liaisons with concerned departments. Teena has over 10 years of
experience in the development sector and has worked in challenging conditions.
Teena holds a masters degree in Hindi and
Sanskrit Literature along with a bachelors degree in education. She has been
utilising her communication skills and knowledge in the social sector for long.
Her passion to create a violence-free environment for women by changing
attitudes led her to work with Manas. Teena loves reading books and is a
traveler at heart.
Uroosa Khatoon is a psychologist and trainer
at Manas. She is involved in the trainings for auto and taxi drivers on gender
sensitization. One of her primary focuses is in raising awareness on gender
sensitization and creating safer zones in the society for a better quality of
Uroosa is a postgraduate in psychology from
Aligarh Muslim University and has additionally completed P.G Diploma in
counselling psychology. She worked as a counselor with Salaam Baalak Trust,
Centre for equity studies and Kendriya Vidyalaya providing individual and group
counseling, long term care plan development, and life skills education. She
also supported children and adolescents with trauma and other mental illnesses
through supportive group therapy and psychosocial support.
Uroosa enjoys travelling, reading books, and
exploring the nature and loves to connect with children. She believes that
these children are the building blocks of our future world and need all the
love and education they can get.
Vijay Laxmi, Psychologist
Vijay Laxmi is a psychologist with Manas
conducting psychological assessment, psychotherapy and research based work. She
also provides individual and group therapy at Manas’s Mental Health Unit at
Nirmal Chhaya. Prior to Manas, Vijay Laxmi worked with various mental health
organisations like Richmond Fellowship Society, Swashrit Society and Unique
Psychological Services. Vijay started working with Manas to gain a deeper
understanding of psychology and its clinical, counselling, organisational,
social, adolescent mental health, and psychotherapy practices.
Vijay Laxmi has a Masters in Psychology from
GNDU, Amritsar and Bachelors in Applied Psychology from Delhi University. She
has interned with Safdarjung, Max, Fortis Escort and VIMHANS hospitals. Outside
of office, she likes to work with children with special needs and continue her
personal psychological journey through classical music, travelling, and playing
with children. Vijay Laxmi is inspired by Manas’ focus on viewing mental health
through a positive lens and their emphasis on the “person” not the “illness”.
She accords with their work philosophy of taking mental health care to the
Neelam Gangwani, Social Worker
Neelam Gangwani is
a social worker cum trainer at Manas and works with Building Bonds programme.
She supports the gender sensitization training of auto drivers, taxi drivers
and DTC Marshals. She believes that the need for gender equality has not yet
reached out to many ears. She also trusts that through this program she is
experiencing a unique exposure to engage with community and create a
behavioural change through trainings for safe and equal public spaces in
completed her M.A in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences,
Guwahati Campus. She has a special interest in empowering women to take part in
the development process. She is a
lifetime member of TISS alumni association. She is also passionate about
travelling to different places and understanding different socio-economic
sections of the society across India.
Ankita is a Communication manager at Manas. A script
writer, photographer, social media manager and Video producer with excellent
communication and interpersonal skills. Ankita leads on the development and
implementation of Manass communications strategy.
As a freelance communication Officer she has worked with
National Geographic channel for their project “The Unlock Hour’. She has also
been associated with Feminist Approach to Technology(FAT), Eicher and Volvo Trucks
and buses and others. She has worked as an Associate Producer and Correspondent
with Asian News International (ANI). Ankita holds a Post-Graduate
Diploma in Applied Journalism and Media studies which was a blend of both,
video and print media.
Every now and then she roams around the city to capture
some interesting faces and their mighty expressions through the power of her
Trishla Jakhar, a trained social worker in Mental
Health (MSW Mental Health, TISS) has diverse exposure in various settings from
Human Rights to clinical setting. She has worked on a research project with
Department of social welfare, Delhi and TISS-KOSHISH on Psychosocial
Rehabilitation of Residents of Asha Kiran Complex, Delhi as Research Officer
involving quantitative and qualitative method of research. She has also
completed basic counselling credit course. Working for the weaker sections of
society who are often ignored has always been her area of interest. Always
excited to work in different settings and out of the comfort zone and adapt to
all kind of environment always drives her to work hard and contribute as much
as she can. At Manas she is engaged in different projects, works in Nirmal
Chhaya project and is part of a UNFPA research.
Pramod Kumar Pandey, Social Worker
Pramod is working as a trainer with Manas Foundation. He
conducts gender sensitization training sessions for auto drivers. He is passionate for working towards women empowerment. He
has completed PG diploma in Guidance and Counselling and M.A in
Psychology. Previously he also worked with Unique Psychological
Services, HCR Institutes and Subharti Medical College.