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.

Patient Narratives and Community Awareness Program with MINDS

This week the MINDS Staff and volunteers went to rural villages surrounding Vadodara to collect patient narratives. These patient narratives will help the MINDS Foundation assess the impact that the program has on the quality of life of current patients. These narratives were collected by going to the patient’s home (with their permission, of course) and conducting qualitative interviews. This patient narrative collection can help the MINDS Foundation improve upon existing services if needed, and get a feel for the patient’s thoughts about the program.

Our social worker, Chintan Thakkar, led the interviews by asking a set of questions to the patient or the patient’s family member. The answers were recorded on a smartphone and were also written down on an answer sheet. Questions included asking what symptoms the patient was experiencing, how they got connected to their treatment program, and how effective the treatment has been for them. Other questions sought to answer if the patients and their families have experienced any stigma surrounding their particular mental illness, if they had gone to any faith-healers to treat their illnesses, and what hopes they had regarding their treatment program.

This was a great way to get in touch with the villagers and get their opinions. Everyone was very hospitable and the majority of the children in the villages showed up to see what all the commotion was about. In addition, the MINDS staff was able to find more patients they could refer to Gotri Medical Hospital so they could get their necessary treatment.

Patient Narrative
Chintan Thakkar interviewing a patient’s family who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia

On Friday night, our team held our community awareness program in Chansad to inform the villagers about mental health illnesses by screening our MINDS movie. All the children showed up first joking about watching Bahubaali and approximately 150 villagers were present by the time the movie had started. At the end of our time there, flyers with more information about mental health, the MINDS Foundation, and the hospital were handed out to all the villagers.

CAP in Chansad
The villagers starting to gather as we set up for our community awareness program in Chansad

Work with MINDS Foundation!!

indexThe MINDS Foundation invites competent and qualified individuals to work as Social Worker / Program Executive. The position is based out in Vadodara, Gujarat, includes extensive traveling on two wheeler / public transport in rural areas / villages of Vadodara / Chhota Udepur and Panchmahal districts of Gujarat. Salary will commensurate with the experience and education.

The position is purely on contract basis and will get extension purely on performance and competency level to the job / tasks. The candidate should be compassionate for Mental health and outreach activities to provide with adherence to community peoples in villages. MA Psychology / MSW / MRS / MA Social Work with experience will be preferred.

Interested Prospects shall forward their CV / Resume mentioning subject as (Application for suitable position with MINDS Foundation) via email on and on

Openings with The MINDS Foundation Vadodara

The MINDS India Foundation, Vadodara

Welcomes applications for the following position:

No. of Post(s): 02

Name of Position:       1) Mental Health Field Social Worker  

                                         2) Research Associate

Based at:                     Vadodara

Job Profile:

For Position 1): Mental Health Field Social Worker

  • The candidate should be BSW / MA Psychology with First Class and at least 2-4 years of experience in NGOs / Health Education Projects. OR
  • MSW with Second Class and above with 1-2 years of experience in the health / education / public awareness projects.
  • Experience in Mental Health and MSW passed through English Medium will be preferable.

For Position 2) Research Associate

  • Master / Bachelor in Public Health or MSW with hands on field surveys and health / education research
  • Good at collating, analysing research data and developing research content
  • Assisting field research team in reaching out target groups / respondents
  • Assisting research team in complying with local authorities
  • Developing questionnaires, interview formats in vernacular language

Common Out Reach Activities:

  • Both the position requires fluency in English and Local Language
  • Excellent computer skill especially Word, Spread sheet, Skype / hangout call and email applications
  • Requires extensive field travelling to conduct community / school education program and research / survey activities.

Salary: will be commensurate with the experience: Between 10,000 to 16,000 per month, plus travel allowance at actual

Must for Candidate:

  • The candidate need to have his / her own two wheeler and able to conduct extensive field travel, need to have valid two wheeler driving license and a helmet for safety.

The Interested candidate shall send their Resume’/CVs to


Mental Health Tsunami on World Mental Health Day 2016

Numerous efforts have been made by the NGOs and interest groups in India nowadays to address mental health issues. Particularly Depression and Anxiety alone will surpass heart disease and diabetes in next 4-5 years. on this concern, bollywood actress Deepika Padukone come forward to fight against depression, her initiative and efforts were seen and well praised by the media during the launch of Nationwide Launch of Campaign against Mental Illness, held on 10th October 2016 at Hotel ITC Maurya, New Delhi on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.

img_3580@ Chief Guest of the event launch: Smt. Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Govt. of India. addressing the event on mental health issues and initiatives.

The event was to boost The Live Love laugh Foundation’s PR and bring out as a new emerging NGO founded by Deepika Padukone to address depression. The launch event was begin with lighting of lamp, followed by inaugural speech of panel members  1) Dr. K. Agarwal, President elect, IMA 2) Dr. Rao, President IPS 3) Dr. Anna Chandy, Chairperson TLLLF 4) Dr. Vikram Patel, Sangath Goa 5) Deepika Padukone and on compeering Dr. Shyam Bhat co-hosted the event. Dr. Shyam Bhat is also a trustee in Love Love Laugh Foundation.

In the Panel discussion, various issues were discussed pertain to mental health and mental illness, particularly for adolescent / youngster suicides, depression and mental illnesses due to changing lifestyle and personal and professional expectations in life.

Dr. Agarwal, IMA President has made a very important decision and committed that the Indian Medical Association will mandate for new batch of General Practitioners to undergo at least 10% of their curriculum / internship on mental health and diagnostic learning. against its present only 30 hours of psychiatry practicum. Also, Dr. Agarwal laid emphasis to provide with psychiatry training to practicing General Physicians / doctors (MBBS)  on mental illnesses, counseling and diagnosis and also referring such patients to psychiatrist. on otherway Dr. Agarwal also shared his concern with the new mental health bill to be passed in the parliament, said there were limitation with the current practitioners with limited knowledge and resources addressing mental health and treatment is not free at all, therefore patients will get admitted with physical illness recording and complaints. so as to provide with medical insurance for treatment cost. whereas, at present there’s no social security scheme or medical treatment is provided free of cost by govt. and insurance companies have objection to consider mental health under the insurance benefits.


It was estimated that, there are only 6500 psychiatrist in India against 1.3 Billion population, every 2 minutes one commits suicide among youngsters, depression is the leading cause in suicidal deaths.

on her turn Deepika, shared a very important and expressive reason behind increasing prevalence of mental illness, and that was because of STIGMA around mental illness, that leads the person helpless and miserable to fight and despair against mental health issues.

@ Video of Deepika sharing her views on mental health and depression during the launch of nationwide campaign against depression through her founding NGO The Live love Laugh Foundation. 

while delivering her speech, at one point Deepika break down seeing her mother and said that, “I was really thankful that my mother was there to help me and understand my situation, supported me throughout the treatment and today what I am that is because of you”.

In concluding remarks, the panel members and invited guests had admired the initiatives of TLLLF, and shown their full support to fight against depression. Immediately after which the campaing was launched. the hashtag of the campaign against depression was #Dobarapoocho

After the launch, the I met with Shri, Prasoon Joshi, famous laureate, write and lyricist of bollywood who is a chief mentor to the Live Love Laugh Initiative, and on Deepika’s personal request remained present in the launch event.


Kudos to the TLLLF team, for the new beginning and initiative to fight against depression. At many points during discussion at the launch event, it was realised that so much of the same was done, learned and addressed by The MINDS Foundation India during its past five years rigorous mental health programmes. At one moment thought to sit with the panel members and also make media personnel aware of what MINDS Foundation had done in past, especially with research on knowledge and attitudes towards depression among different community and health worker groups.

Thanks to Natasha Vijay, Ashu Calapa and Anisha Padukone for inviting me to the event and to let me understand their views and thoughts on mental health / depression. Would say So much to learn, many more to teach / share and train on mental health initiatives carried out by The Mental Illness and Neurological Disorders Foundation India. (MINDS)


Amul …Program Manager at The MINDS Foundation.  


Changes and Challenges are Good!!

Hi all,

It’s been very long since the last blog was published by one of the MINDS contributor on site field program at Vadodara. Its indeed a challenging time to sustain the MINDS onsite program for school education on mental health. Staff shortages, direct on duty and less orientation time, auxiliary tasks and weather challenges are some of the key factor that hampers MINDS program goals.


Team Spirit!! (in funny way the team named it after popular snack shop of vadodara YO Frankie!! deriving … Yo Minds Team… Good memories to share with this photo of Left to right: (Sowmya, Dhara, Amul & Yuvraj, and of course our very own Rachel Fischer)

On finance, few setback were there, as MINDS lead partner The GlobeMed Chapter at University of Washington had ended up their partnership. Whereas, I (Program Manager) and Program Associate (Dhara Joshi), shifted to new location out of the State to work in different social intervention. However, attached to the MINDS vision and grassroots approaches with different Mental Health program, like to associated with MINDS on longer terms. Thanks to Raghu Sir (Founder and CEO) to continue me as MINDS Program Manager to manage the work even remotely, through virtual communications to look after field staff and assess the progress of work.

At present, MINDS foundation co-partnered with The Live Love Laugh Foundation of (the Deepika Padukone) to conduct targeted school education program on mental health. for 2016-17 MINDS aims to expand its reach to more than 75 villages and equal numbers of schools, providing mental health education to around 10,000 Children and 450 Teachers across Vadodara and Chhota Udepur district clusters and villages.

In addition, the June-July 2016 months was also very important and value adding to MINDS core activity, as MINDS in partnership with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai had conducted research on “knowledge and attitudes towards Mental Health among ASHA and Anganwadi Workers of Gujarat”. Significant data collection had been done by the hard-working team of Mount Sinai MPH students Ms. Qainat Shah and Ms. Pooja Dave along with Ms. Vasundhara Thakur and Mr. Chintan Thakkar (our newly appointed Social Worker). near about 150 samples have been collected proportionately to have the sense of mental health impressions among the target group. The publication of the research will be carried out in next 8 to 10 months. Excited though to get the results / conclusions and suggestions to include new focus group for mental health project and develop strategies for community intervention program.


Illustrative photo of Program Manager (Amul) and Program Associate (Dhara) with Dr. Amy Aloysi (ISMMS) and Dr. Rachel Fischer (PG4 ISMMS), during Govt. Mental Health Hospital visit in Vadodara.

The kind of mid review of MINDS for 2016-17 is on going, and feeling confident that next months will be more focused, target oriented and achievable. Though different circumstances and changes in staff, structure and program, at MINDS the grassroots approach to eliminate stigma around mental health will be dealt and addressed to the higher extent of possible.

Wish, for humble support and partnership for months to come too!! As Changes and Challenges are good !!

Do not forget to write your views and comments if any!! in comment box..please




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