Pragya Lodha, an Associate with MINDS-India, recently spoke with our long-time partner Dr. Sandeep Shah about his take on the partnership with MINDS.

Dr. Sandeep Shah (MD Psychiatry), a consultant psychiatrist at Gotri Hospital, Vadodara, has been with The MINDS Foundation since its inception. The joint efforts with Dr. Shah has aided The MINDS Foundation to psychoeducate several districts in Rural Gujarat.

The following is an interview with Dr. Sandeep that delineates upon the journey and the years of work that has been successfully carried out in the collaboration with The MINDS Foundation.

  1. For how long have you been associated with MINDS Foundation? I have associated with MINDS foundation since its inception and in fact me and Raghu had many discussions and meetings when he proposed this idea and his plan for a foundation to work in the field of mental health in India.
  2. What has your role been in the mental health camps organised on a monthly basis?My role has been in providing the structure of these camps being organized on a monthly basis, I have also worked closely with MINDS and outlined what exactly should be done during these camps.
  3. How large has your clientele been from the rural parts of Gujarat? Personally my clientele is a mix of Urban and Rural Gujarat
  4. What would you have to say about the growth profile of MINDS Foundation? The MINDS foundation has grown fast, has grown in the direction that it had envisioned and has been able to sustain the pace of growth, additionally it has also now increased its areas of work from identifying and dealing with mental health issues in the community, to training teachers and community health workers and also applying technology to mental health issues by its mobile software usage in this field.
  5. Please describe your experience of working with the MINDS Foundation. My experience of working with MINDS has always been great, I have found Raghu and other colleagues very open to discussions and suggestions and have worked well with the projections that they had earlier. It’s really pleasing to me to see that it has bloomed to a full-fledged organization working in the field of mental health in India.
  6. How has Gotri grown with the association with MINDS Foundation? Gotri, working along with MINDS has had the chance to be exposed to international volunteers and students and this really has made us grow as we get international perspectives on the current work being done. Also most of the staff has gained positively by their interactions with the volunteers and attendees and we have also got further directions into working in the community for mental health issues.
  7. What are the future prospects in your perspective with regard to the work at MINDS Foundation? I believe that we should upscale the program that we are at present doing in the villages as out ultimate aim would be to cover most of the rural population and this is a real challenge. But I am sure we can apply our current model and upscale it to cover as many villages as possible. I do understand that manpower and funding is a big challenge when we talk of up-scaling.
  8. Would you like to share the most memorable success story in association with the MINDS Foundation? There isn’t one, but to quote my most memorable story is having the chance to be with MINDS since its inception to its current state and that I stand witness to its journey in the field of mental health.
  9. According to you, what is the scope of the mental health scenario for India? With the new Mental Health Care Act in India, the scope of mental health scenario should become much better. Though it’s a highly ambitious act, its implementation would bring about a sea change in the mental health scenario in the country.