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Delhi NCR

New Delhi, being the home of our organisation, is where we began our journey towards bringing the issue of mental health into the forefront of community health and public health systems. The heterogeneous population of New Delhi provided us the opportunity to work with diverse groups of people across various social, economic and cultural domains.

A survey study, “State of mental health in Delhi: Prevalence of psychiatric morbidity, subjective well being, and patterns of help-seeking behavior among the general population of Delhi” was undertaken by Manas Foundation with the support of the Planning Commission in the year 2008.  The prevalence of psychiatric morbidity was found to be 7.6% amongst the population of Delhi and with respect to subjective wellbeing, people in Delhi report high levels of distress and poor subjective wellbeing both in quantitative analysis and focused group discussions. 

Due to our extensive work in the field we were keenly aware of the burden of mental health disorders in Delhi even prior to this study and we began with mobilising communities through mass awareness campaigns for mental health. The aim of these campaigns was to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, encourage people to reach out for support and also inform them about the various avenues for support which are available to them. 

To ensure these campaigns were a success we gathered the support of prominent stakeholders from different sectors of the society who spoke out about normalising mental health and publicly endorsed the issue of mental health and well being. We used different engaging and entertaining mediums for raising awareness of mental health such as an art exhibition, rock show, street theatre and other public events.

Programme with Women and Child Care Institutions

By creating awareness we purposefully created a demand for mental health services and we realised we need to cater to this demand by making mental health services accessible and available for all specially the most vulnerable. In 2011 we plugged in our mental health services model to the Nirmal Chhaya complex which is a women and child care institution run by the Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Delhi. We felt that ensuring someone’s security and well being does not only entail providing them a safe physical space but also a larger ecosystem of psychosocial support that provides them with a safe emotional space. The positive impact of this intervention was acknowledged by all the stakeholders and in 2020 Manas Foundation was given the opportunity to replicate the same plug in model in all the institutions run by WCD for children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law. Our plug-in model constitutes establishing a mental health unit at each institution manned by a team of qualified and trained counselling psychologists, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. Our mental health services include providing the residents with regular one on one counselling/therapy sessions and psychiatric support.  Our psychologists also conduct regular group sessions and workshops for the residents to prevent mental health concerns from developing or progressing along with  promoting adaptive coping, resilience, and positive mental health amongst the residents. The aim of this multipronged approach is not just ensuring the wellbeing of the resident while they are residing within the institutions but also ensuring successful reintegration into the society once they leave.

Programme with Educational Institutions

While working with children we became aware of the myriad of concerns that affect children, adolescents and young people. This became a guiding factor for our decision to work on the mental health of children, adolescents and youth at a larger scale. 

This decision was closely backed by data such as WHOs finding that 10-20% children and adolescents experience mental health disorders and a reputed Lancet study that concluded that India has the highest suicide rates among the youth in the world.

We then began working with various educational institutions such as schools and colleges. For this we took a multi pronged approach that aimed to:

  • Raise awareness about mental health, reduce stigma and encourage help seeking
  • Strengthen the institution via capacity building of teachers and counsellors
  • Implement a specialised mental health curriculum for students
  • Provide direct mental health services to students

We implemented a variety of mental health awareness workshops and campaigns in different schools and colleges across Delhi NCR. Under one of our initiatives, with The Live Love Laugh Foundation (2016-2018)  an organization founded by actor Deepika Padukone, Manas conducted workshops on mental health awareness at more than 200 schools in Delhi/NCR, reaching out to approximately 24,000 students and 7,000 teachers.

Our capacity building  initiative for teachers and school counsellors involves training them on topics relevant to the mental health of children, adolescents and young people,  so as to equip them for being first responders for any mental health concerns the children might encounter.

The objectives of these capacity building initiatives with teachers and counsellors is to demystify mental health, address the stigma surrounding it and sensitise the first responders to mental health concerns amongst their students. The overall outcome of these sessions is to facilitate the teachers and counsellors to identify mental health concerns amongst children, provide the children with mental health first aid and refer the children to the appropriate mental health professionals if and when required. We wanted the teachers and counsellors to view education from a comprehensive lens which not only gives importance to academic success but also the psychosocial adjustment and well being of a student. 

Along with this we also focus on promoting positive mental health amongst the counsellors and teachers by addressing issues pertinent to their life such as job stress, burn out, work life balance and teaching them effective research based self care practices. 

 

One of our pioneering capacity building initiatives was in association with UNFPA, the Directorate of Education GNCTD, and SCERT (2016)  where we facilitated 5 day  training with 160 newly inducted counsellors, via covering specific sub themes pertaining to counselling school children.

The backbone of our work with educational institutions is our uniquely designed mental health curriculum which entails conducting regular interactive workshops with students held multiple times over the academic year. These workshops are customised to address key themes relevant to psycho-socio-emotional health of specific age groups in an activity based engaging fashion. A long-term engagement with students to address these concerns allows them to build on personal and collective insights through each successive interaction. It has not only been well-received by the students but the other stakeholders as well. During the pandemic  as schooling moved to a virtual mode of learning, Manas Foundation adapted and conducted online workshops over the platform of Google Meet, students shared an online safe space with Manas Foundation and the workshops emerged to be deeply engaging. 

Along with this we also provide direct mental health services for different schools and colleges which include free of cost counselling for students within the institution or our psychotherapy plus psychometric assessment services via our out patient department. Some of our partners in the education system include Sanskriti School, Amity International Schools, The Air force School, The Mothers’ International, School Sardar Patel Vidyalaya and Gyan Bharti School, Adhyan Public School, Dyal Singh College, College of home economics in Delhi NCR.

Work with Community Service Organisations

While working in the social development space Manas deeply felt that mental healthcare is not only the responsibility of a specialist organisation like ours but it can also be embedded in the development agendas of other community service organisations. We decided to plug in mental health services into various CSOs working on different social issues. We again optimised our plug in model by adopting multi strategic approach customised to meet the needs of the organisation. 

This multi strategic plug in approach includes:

  • Awareness workshops with CSOs or the communities they work with
  • Capacity building of their staff members to become first responders in the continuum of mental healthcare
  • Designing a customised training curriculum and a reference mental health module for the CSO
  • Capacitating frontline workers of the CSO to become barefoot counsellors so that they can provide direct mental health support within the communities they work with

One of our most significant projects  was The Mind Map Model which was operationalized with the support of Sir Dorabjee Tata Trust (SDTT) over 2009-2011, with its Pilot Phase spanning 2006-2007, implemented with CSOs working with Urban Disadvantaged Youth. For this project we conducted, customized and intensive mental health support programmes for employees of multiple CSOs that work on causes of livelihood generation, education, health etc. and did not have an in-house facility of mental health care such as SAMUEL Foundation, Smile, Aman Biradiri, Udayan Care, Deepalaya etc. Each partner CSO selected a core team of frontline workers whose psychosocial capacities are to be built towards training them as barefoot counselors. 

Under the Pehchan Training Curriculum for MSM, Transgender and Hijra Community systems strengthening  we developed a customised Mental Health Module (C3) to build the knowledge and skills of community volunteers, counsellors and outreach workers of NGOs and CBOs who work directly with MTH communities.

In the year 2020 which was heavily affected by the COVID 19 pandemic we implemented various trainings and webinars with organisations such as National Institute of Disaster Management which were aimed at building awareness about mental health and also capacitating the participants with some essential skills such as identifying mental health concerns/disorders and providing psychological first aid.

Work with Corporates

Manas believes in making mental health synonymous with well-being, productivity, creativity, positivity and growth and this was the key idea behind our decision to work with corporate organisations within the private sector.  Our work with organisations in the private corporate sector has majorly focused on creating safe spaces within organisations where not only an employee’s productivity thrives but they also experience job satisfaction and a state of holistic well being. 

We partner with various organisations to provide them with mental health support in the form of mental health awareness workshops, capacity building workshops and by providing them direct services such as one on one counselling and psychotherapy sessions or psychiatric consultations. Through our intervention we address a myriad of issues within the workplace such as job related stress, burn out, work life balance, workplace hazards, ergonomics, creating positive organisational cultures, fostering job satisfaction along with adopting policies which enable positive mental health amongst the employees. Our corporate partners include HCL technologies, Cox and Kings, HONDA, The Oberoi Group of Hotels, Teach for India and Xogene pvt. Limited.