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Milestones in the Journey of Manas


Emergence of the Idea of a Safe Space

In 2001, an idea emerged that views mental health in a continuum by creating a safe space that addresses common mental health concerns daily, rather than reaching out only in a state of extreme psychological/psychiatric illness.

 This was the year when a unique psycho-social model of mental health care was pioneered. 

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Amplifying Voices through Community Awareness Campaigns

In its endeavor to break the stigma around seeking support for mental health concerns, Manas Foundation realized the prominent gap in awareness on mental health. It was noted that mental health is seen as synonymous to mental illness. Moreover, Manas gaged the lack of recognition of mental wellness as an important part of one’s holistic well-being. 
This was the year when innovative mental health awareness interventions were crafted in collaboration with multi stakeholder partners for communities belonging to diverse socio-economic backgrounds. Some of the prominent hallmarks was the celebration of ‘World Mental Health Day’ for almost half a decade and ‘World No Tobacco Day’.

As a part of these campaigns, series of workshops and cultural programs were held which engaged people on mental health through interesting means of organizing art exhibitions, cricket matches, rock concerts, etc. These campaigns reached people from different walks of life, deinstitutionalizing mental health services alongside mainstreaming and normalizing the dialogue on mental health. 

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Evolution of Good practices of Mental Health Delivery

The awareness campaigns helped Manas understand the mental health landscape of the community, and the dire need of building capacity to strengthen community mental health care. This led to the inception of the programme, ‘Mind Map’(2006-2007) that catalyzed Manas to release a white paper of best practices of mental health services. This programme identified 30 prime mental health organizations across India to share with them tools and practices for an effective delivery of mental health services. One of the prominent ways to carry out the decentralization of mental health services was to build the capacity of frontline workers and barefoot counselors in identified geographies across the country. 

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The Advent of Accessible and Affordable Mental Healthcare

While Manas put in its efforts to deinstitutionalize mental health services, it simultaneously worked towards institutionalizing mental health care and giving it a structure by ‘plugging in’ the private and public health care system. With its robust team of mental health professionals, began with ‘plugging in’ mental health services. Since more than a decade, Manas has been in partnership with Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD); it provides accessible and affordable comprehensive mental health care to Women and Child care institutions which later expanded to all the homes including child care institutions (CCI) and children in conflict with law (CCL). This brought about the embedding of mental health care in public institutions, the health, education and criminal justice systems. Currently, Manas has its presence in more than 60 homes of Delhi NCR and Chhattisgarh.

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Embarking one of South Asia’s largest programme on Engaging men and boys for creating safer public spaces for women

Working on ground on mental health issues, Manas realized the indispensable link between mental health and gender based issues. With pivotal partners such as Indraprashtha Gas Limited, Uber India, Ford Foundation; Manas has been engaging with public transport drivers on women safety and professional behaviors to make public places safer and more accessible to women and girls. The larger gender sensitization programme engaged through POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) with employees and managers to make work places free of gender-based violence. 

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Expanding territories and Impact

Through years of developing models of mental health care and gender justice programmes, Manas has been scaling up its outreach to newer geographies, to different parts of the country. While community mental health programme has reached the rural and remote areas like that of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttrakhand, etc, the Gender Sensitisation programme has steadfastly extended to up to 40 cities in India.

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