Activites Details

Mental health touches upon every single aspect of our lives - our daily habits, relationships, career, decisions, health and lifestyle. Psychological wellbeing is integral to physical health and leading a productive, satisfying life. Yet mental health issues remain shrouded and are associated with stigma and shame.  With the aim of addressing the increasing need for mental health care and awareness in the country, Manas organised a week-long Mental Health Awareness Campaign from October 7-13, 2006 to provide people with the much needed guidance about the different avenues for seeking help with mental illnesses and about basic positive steps for mental well-being. 

Events such as Mental Health Camps, Seminars, Photography and Art Exhibition, Poster Campaign and Cricket match were organised at various locations in Delhi to reach out to a large number of people to improve public perception and awareness about mental health.

Through all these events we were able to reach out to one lakh people. Many more were touched in a less direct manner through the media coverage, advertisement and word of mouth. Moreover, our seminars brought us in contact with several NGOs working in the fields of women’s welfare, children’s welfare, and welfare of the elderly and also those dedicated to mental health.

Our seminar on ‘Women and Mental Health’ during the Campaign, in particular, was received very well and encouraged us to organise a state level dialogue-workshop on the same in January, 2007. This workshop, titled ‘Women and Mental Health Care - Improving Awareness and Access’, strengthened our alliances with the NGOs specifically working for the cause of women and has led to the formulation of concrete plans and strategies for implementing the ideas generated during the mental health week and at the workshop.

As a part of the Campaign, Manas Foundation communicated with more than 350 schools. We have received numerous queries and requests from schools in the past few months to hold workshops on a wide range of issues such as handling examination stress, study skills, life skills, sexuality, HIV AIDS, reproductive health, effective teaching methods, etc.

The support we received from the Central and State Governments has been encouraging in our ongoing efforts to bring about policy changes with respect to mental health and related issues. The involvement of prominent and influential public figures in the events during the Mental Health Awareness Campaign Week served as a further means to spread the word and generate interest among members of the public.

Our campaign with the media has brought to their notice the need for adopting a more sensitive and sensible approach to portray issues pertaining to mental health and illnesses. A more visible incorporation of the concrete outcomes of our efforts with the media is going to be a slow process; however, the first step has been taken. We have been able to create a much needed platform to address and discuss issues.

Given this successful start, we hope to keep the up the momentum and continue our efforts by making our Campaign an annual event. Follow-up activities will be undertaken all through the year to ensure the optimum utilisation of resources and a consistent and continuous progress towards the higher goal of promoting mental wellbeing of all and removing the stigma and shame associated with mental illness.

The positive response about our mental health week campaign that we received from the general public, the government agencies, other organisations dedicated to social issues and professionals in mental healthcare has been very encouraging and has reiterated the need to make such efforts on a continuous and ongoing basis.

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