Community Mental Health Awareness in Rural area – A Challenge!

The MINDS Foundation has developed five year strategic plan after it’s board meeting held in January 2018 at Mumbai before Trustees and Promoters. Inline with commitment shown to the MINDS Board and brought out a vision for the foundation. A time-line document has been developed, which is a target based interventions with particular tasks in each program.

For 2018, the MINDS Foundation aims to reach 125 rural villages, communities and clusters to address mental health issues among general population. Through our essential mental health interventions we want to provide access to care to rural households. For this we have recently conducted our this year’s first two sessions of community mental health awareness. At village Darjipura and Fatehpura of Padra Taluka of Vadodara District.

This indeed a challenging tasks to provide mental health education to village communities. It all starts with round of visits, rapport building with leading stakeholders of the villages, creating resources, providing strong introduction and information about the MINDS Foundation and program objectives. After scheduling a date and time, it’s not a sure that the people will come-up to participate due to stigma around mental health and also ignorance of this important issue. So after the invitation, the field staff has to make sure they are meeting each and every household of the village and invite them to participate in the awareness program.

The mental health awareness program includes, 30 minutes of the presentation on mental health awareness covering variety of subject / topic and 30 minutes of the video play (showing a mental health education movie and a story of a adolescent get mental health issues and overcome of it with proper treatment and care).

Our recent experience at village Darjipura and Fatehpura gave us confident that there is lot more to do to reach more communities as possible and provide them quality knowledge about mental health and develop resource for care and treatment.


Mental Health Service Expansion…

Year 2017-2018 is a value edition to The MINDS Foundation’s mental health philosophy. The Foundation was successfully able to do expansion of its mental health interventions in to other districts of the Gujarat.

School mental health education for adolescents and teachers was launched in mid 2017, and successfully reached to 24 schools of Bhavnagar District provided mental health education to 3900 students and 370 Teachers.


Post school exams and summer vacation of 2018, the MINDS Foundation team aims to reach more semi-urban and rural area schools across Bhavnagar and Amreli District. Further to this intervention the MINDS Foundation has got opportunity to work with the Sir T. General Hospital’s Dept. of Psychiatry Doctors. Who will work closely with the field team in organizing mental health awareness camp in communities and will provide necessary adherence for the treatment. This collaboration is also expected to get strong and supportive to work on different mental health service model that helps the different and unique needs of the people, patient and different age groups.

The MINDS Foundation also anticipating partnership in south Gujarat area with some of the like minded organisation and mental health foundations as a part of expansion.

For more updates do visit our website and keep reading newer blogs on the MINDS foundation developments.

Continual Mental Health Interventions…

The Mental Health improvements initiative in community and schools are leading program the MINDS Foundation is delivering to reduce the stigma and discrimination around mental health and people suffering from mental illness.

Students, are more vulnerable to mental health issues due to variety of reasons, be it hormonal changes, puberty period, educational boredom, peers pressure, social and family life issues and self image, romantic relationship issues.

The School Mental Health Education Programs of the MINDS foundation helps adolescents (students) to understand factors affecting mental health and breaking the stigma around it. The program delivery imparts knowledge on how the stress, anxiety and depression can be reduced with right help, talking about mental illness and one’s feelings and asking for help. The program encourages students to stop bullying and treat children with special need / their colleague equally and with empathetic support.

Educational, personal and personality related counseling also been provided during the school mental health education programs. sharing herewith the recent program details that held at Talsat Village, in Vadodara District of Gujarat. MINDS dedicated field social worker’s have delivered the program using sensitization and strong appealing skills to eradicate mental health misconception from students and ensured teachers to be torch bearing person to help student in difficult circumstances to address mental health and provide with counseling and treatment.

will continue with more positive stories from the field….

Community Mental Health Worker’s Training Programme Phase-II

                             The MINDS Foundation, team has conducted another excellent training programme at CHANSAD Village of Padra Taluka of Vadodara, Gujarat. Chansad also popular for Pujya Pramukhswami Maharaj’s (BAPS) birth place around the world. We invited twelve ASHA workers of Chansad cluster as participants.

Programme was delivered in a way that participants get to know in-depth knowledge on basics of mental health, factors affecting mental health, symptoms of mental illness and types of mental illnesses. Also, quality of training and language was maintained easy as possible for laymen learning. ASHA workers are an important health workers in communities who can lead the mental health awareness and assistance programme. CMHW programme enables these participants to work as a key point of contact in to their community and provide first aid mental health care to the individuals and their family.

The training module included, case studies, live interaction with actual pre-diagnosed patients. Role play for good and bad counselling and interaction of CMHW with patients were also taught to make their skills more effective and supportive.

An exclusive research was held in partnership with The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Global Mental Health), New York, USA for the CMHW Training Programme: “To assess two different approaches towards CMHW training through didactic learning and patient interection”. Outcome of the research will be seen after couple of months when the research (public Health) students Ms. Rachita and Ms. Sara will prepare their first manuscript of their research. Also, a pre and post survey to assess knowledge improvement was also carried out before and after the training. To improve the quality of training and add more from the field and learning experiences.

With this training, The MINDS Foundation put forward an appeal to potential participants, Govt. Psychiatry / Health Dept, District Administration and interested individuals working in health / education sector to join hands with MINDS and can expand such programmes in coming time.

To know more about our programmes, schedules and partnership please write to us at or call on : +919033837227



Amul Joshi,

The Minds Foundation

Mental Health Hospital Visit and CMHW Training Program

Our MINDS team had a busy last week as we planned for a Community Mental Health Workers (CMHW) Training Program and took one day to visit the Kareli Baug Hospital for Mental Health. The Kareli Baug Hospital has been very well-known for its mental health services since its inception in 1968. Our special guest, Dr. Martin from Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, was especially eager for the visit as he used to run a hospital himself. During our visit, we learned about the various rehabilitation programs, saw the different wards, and heard about the basic everyday functions of the hospital. Dr. Martin discussed the various treatment options available in the hospital, the hospital policies and their effectiveness, and the stigma surrounding mental health in Vadodara with one of the psychiatrists in the hospital.

Dr. Martin, our MINDS fellows, and social workers chatting with one of the hospital psychiatrists

The rest of the week we prepared for our weekend CMHW Training Program which took place in Jaspur, a rural village around Vadodara. This program aims to educate the local health workers (specifically ASHA workers and Anganwadis) about mental health and helps them to screen for any ill patients. The health workers are in an especially valuable position since they regularly communicate with the villagers and have various connections throughout the areas in which they work. Amul Joshi, our Program Director, led most of the training as he taught the 12 health workers about various disorders, their symptoms, and how to properly handle these situations.

CMHW Training Program Activites

There will be another training program taking place soon as there are two Masters of Public Health students from Mt. Sinai College, Sara and Rachita, conducting a research project that will compare two different approaches to training community health workers. One method consists of a didactic training module while the other one incorporates direct patient interaction in a didactic training module. The study will hopefully show the advantages and disadvantages of both training methods.

We will be sure to update and share more stories about our programs and projects!

The live love laugh foundation and The Minds foundation phase out second year of School Mental Health Education Programme. For this year 2017-18 the partners aim to provide education to more than 5000 students and 600 teachers. This time we expanded the SMHEP project in the western parts of Gujarat and aim to cover schools of Bhavnagar District. Today the first school program was delivered at Shri.Dakshina Murty Vinay Mandir, Bhavnagar and there were 115 students remain present .



will share more info and stories in days to come !!

Assessing Teachers’ Attitudes Towards Suicide Prevention

The past two weeks our MINDS team has been working on a project to assess secondary school teachers’ attitudes towards suicide and suicidal behavior. Sarah Jameson, a student in the Masters of Public Health program at the University of South Florida, primarily led the project and used two valid and reliable scales for measuring suicide awareness and perceptions: the Attitude Towards Suicide Prevention Scale and the Stigma Towards Suicide Scale.  Additionally, flyers were provided to the schools with information on how to properly take care of students that might be portraying suicidal behavior.

School Survey 2
Teachers completing the surveys at the Jayshree Khodiyar English School in Anagad

Our team went to four schools in the rural villages of Jaspur, Chansad, Koyli, and Anagad. We handed out both scales in all the schools and were able to survey a total of 39 teachers and 2 principals.

The results of the surveys displayed an overall willingness to assist in student suicide prevention; however, as expected, a slight stigma towards suicide is still prevalent.  A future suicide prevention program aimed towards secondary school teachers in rural Gujarat could be beneficial since teachers are willing to prevent suicide.  Teachers are in a prime position to aid in the reduction of preventable student suicides.  

School Survey 1
Teachers completing surveys at Shree Sewa Samaj Vidyalay in Jaspur

Alongside this project, our team was also able to chat with some of the principals and teachers on a personal basis of what they think might be the cause of the high numbers of suicides among students today. The conversations also centered around other issues the schools are facing such as the lack of parents’ attention on their children’s education, state educational policies, and how to further fight mental health problems. Our MINDS teams will surely keep these issues on our radar and we will hopefully be able to engage some of them while we continue battle mental health problems in rural India.