Our Impact

Our Model

Focusing on the root cause of stigma

Foundations of Partnership

We look for partners who share the same vision as The MINDS Foundation – a commitment to reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness. We believe that the impact necessary to create a world in which anyone can seek the help they need can only be done by partnering with local communities, activists, thought leaders, academic institutions, and passionate individuals.

Community Education

We believe that education surrounding mental health is a critical component that needs to be addressed in order to diminish the stigma surrounding it. In order to address this component, we organize evidence-based mental health education workshops in rural villages. Our team works closely with CMHWs and local village leaders to establish a relationship allowing us to host impactful educational programming. Workshops include discussion, Q&A, visual aids, street plays, interaction with mental health professionals, and a video documentary explaining and depicting mental health symptoms and disorders. The community is provided with a list of resources as well as being left with visual aids and educational materials.

Access to Care

We are committed to providing only the most high-quality care. MINDS does not have a healthcare facility nor does it directly provide medical care. Instead, we network with local clinics servicing village communities in which we work. Community members and CMHW, trained by MINDS, refer those they feel need assistance. Thereafter, our team provides an initial counselling session and works with patients to assist them in getting the proper care they need. This entails linking them with government schemes as well as with local health clinics.

Patient Stories

Capacity Building

Community Mental Health Workers

We hire and train community members to be mental health workers. The community mental health workers (CMHWs) are at the frontline of our programs. They use their familiarity with the community and leverage their social networks so that we may efficiently reach more people. Furthermore, they support patients through their recovery and continue to educate the community about mental health by hosting workshops and peer support groups. This program not only allows us to increase access to care but mobilizes the community to take charge and improve the halth of their own members. Investing in local stakeholders allows us to have a long-term impact.

Reintegration

Community Reintegration

The end goal for patients is to live happy lives where they can contribute productively to their community. To help them reach these goals, we provide social and vocational rehabilitation programs that will equip them with the skills to succeed in their work, household or school responsibilities. It is a two-way street where the focus is also on preparing the community to be supportive of those who have or have had a mental disorder.Transportation & Treatment Program
This completely free-of-charge program invites those with mental illness and their families to receive transportation to and from the Psychiatry Team who will formally diagnose, counsel and provide appropriate treatment.

Issue to Impact Research

At MINDS we understand the unique nature and diversity throughout the communities in India. It is not possible nor is it effective to incorporate one rigid model of mental health education and care. Therefore, we are proud to state that all of our programming is based upon extensive research and data collection. A needs assessment is at the foundation of our program design process. Continuing monitoring and evaluation of our programs once they are implemented is essential to improving and providing communities what they truly need.

 

Eliminating Stigma by Improving Mental Health Literacy

Project Team: Raghu Appasani, Lennox Byer, Mehul Solanki, Dr. Neil Aggarwal, Dr. Sandip Shah, Dr. Raghav Arora, Dr. Raina Garg, Dr. Srinivas Muthegowda, Dr. Kajal Tanna, Dr. Lakhan Kataria

Partnering Institutions: Sumandeep Vidyapeeth/Dhiraj General Hospital (Vadodara, Gujarat, India), Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT, USA)

Funder: Private Donations

Objective: To determine the effectiveness of a psychoeducational program on improving mental health literacy in the rural district of Vadodara, Gujarat, India.

Brief:
Stigma is a negative social mark that leads to the devaluation of members of a certain group such as those with mental illness. It is a complex social construct that involves attitudes, feelings and prejudices held by the public, medical service providers and the people with a mental illness themselves. Patients suffering from a mental illness are routinely and universally stigmatized. The stigmatizers include family members, the general public and even medical professionals. The result is social marginalization and disability through discrimination in jobs, housing, marriages and education. In India, stigma is one of a number of barriers to treatment. Denial of illness, poor compliance, refusal to pursue treatment and somatization are all unintended results of stigma as the mentally ill attempt to avoid discrimination and marginalization. Understanding how to effectively reduce stigma is essential for reducing the mental illness treatment gap.

Familiarity, defined as “knowledge of and experience with mental illness,” seems to play a role in attitudes towards mental health. Studies have suggested a favorable relationship between familiarity with mental illness and optimal attitudes. People who are more familiar with mental illness, either through education or contact, appear less likely to subscribe to negative attitudes. With this in mind it logically follows that psychoeducation would be considered a potential strategy for changing attitudes towards mental illness. Educational strategies can include books, flyers, movies, videos and audio-visual aids. The theory is that people with a better understanding of mental illness would be less likely to stigmatize and hold negative attitudes towards mental illness.

Not many studies have looked at psychoeducation and its effects on stigma, in India. It is not unreasonable to expect psychoeducational programs to work in some capacity in India. The studies depicted here suggest that an educational intervention related to mental health can result in less stigmatizing attitudes among a population. Our study presented here aims to add to the limited research on the impact of psychoeducational programs on attitudes towards mental health in rural India. We have run a psychoeducational program in 19 rural villages within the district of Vadodara, Gujarat, India. We use a 45-question assessment to determine attitudes and knowledge of mental health.

Researching the Prevalance of Stigma and Its Connection to Symptoms, Cognitive Function, and Psychological Status in Gujarat, India
Project Team: Raghu Appasani, Lennox Byer, Mehul Solanki, Samuel Douglas, Simone Hyman, Dr. Vidhi Patel, Jinal Patel, Dolly Patel, Zach Burns, Aditya Rali, Dr. Matthew Kurtz, Dr. Sandip Shah
Partnering Institutions: Sumandeep Vidyapeeth/Dhiraj General Hospital (Vadodara, Gujarat, India), Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT, USA)

Funder: Private Donations

Objective: To determine the prevalence of stigma and its change throughout the course of psychiatric treatment.The research project aims to investigate the relationship between symptoms, cognitive function and psychosocial status in severe mental illness, and how these factors change over time through treatment. As treatments for cognitive deficits in schizophrenia continue to be developed and refined in the US, it will be crucial to ensure that these interventions will be applicable to clients in India and other middle-income countries.

Brief:
This study also aims to understand the exact nature and experience of mental illness in the villages, and qualitative measures will also be used to develop patient narratives. Two questionnaires will be used: (1) the Discrimination and Stigma Scale, a measure which identifies quantitative scores for various stigma-inducing situations while also encouraging the patient to give qualitative examples; (2) a semi-structured ‘in-depth interview’ questionnaire which guides the patient through a discussion of the daily challenges and stigma they face because of their mental illness.

An Exploration of Attitudes Toward Mental Health Amongst Community Members in rural Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Project Team: Raghu Appasani, Mehul Solanki, Dr. Craig Katz, Ms. Trina Pal, Dr. Nisarg Shah, Samuel Douglas, Dr. Sandip Shah

Partnering Institutions: Sumandeep Vidyapeeth/Dhiraj General Hospital (Vadodara, Gujarat, India), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York, NY, USA)

Funders: Private Donations & Global Health Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Objective:  To study views about mental illness/health among community members in villages surrounding Vadodara. Qualitatively determine community members conceptualize mental illness using an explanatory model approach.

Brief:
Research was conducted using a modified version of the Short Explanatory Model (SEMI) to obtain responses from community and family members in rural villages surrounding the city of Vadodara in Gujarat as well as the Outpatient Psychiatry Department at Dhiraj Hospital.The explanatory models of community members interviewed were utilized to further analyze the responses collected to understand the views and attitudes regarding mental illness in the area.

Many communities are reputed not to accept mental illness as a disease resulting in marginalization or exclusion of the mentally ill from their own communities, which is why further research needs to be conducted about local attitudes and knowledge about mental health. Awareness of this information will help develop appropriate outreach programs into the villages served by MINDS in the future. Researchers asked questions regarding attitudes of mental illness in the communities, treatments available and if patients were seen as functioning members of society.

It is hypothesized that the negative attitudes towards mental health in rural villages surrounding Gujarat are the result of limited awareness and education about mental health.

Results: View completed poster presentation developed by Ms. Trina Pal

An Exploration of Attitudes Toward Mental Health Amongst Traditional Healers in rural Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Project Team: Raghu Appasani, Mehul Solanki, Dr. Craig Katz, Ms. Sonya Bohaczuk, Dr. Nisarg Shah, Samuel Douglas, Dr. Sandeep Shah

Partnering Institutions: Sumandeep Vidyapeeth/Dhiraj General Hospital (Vadodara, Gujarat, India), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York, NY, USA)

Funders: Private Donations & Global Health Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Objectives: To elicit explanatory models of mental illness from healers in Gujarat, India. To qualitatively analyze these explanatory models to understand how mental illness is conceptualized and treated in the rural villages

Brief:
The explanatory model approach provides the opportunity to improve understanding of the values and beliefs that healers and patients associate with mental illness, allowing hospital providers to anticipate the differences in understanding of diseases that can complicate achievement of therapeutic goals.

Results: View completed poster presentation developed by Ms. Sonya Bohaczuk

Knowledge and attitudes towards depression amongst community health providers in Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Project Team: Dr. Santiago Almanzar, Mehul Solanki, Dr. James Squires, Dr. Craig Katz, Dr. Nisarg Shah, Raghu Appasani, Lennox Byer, Dr. Sandeep Shah

Partnering Institutions: Sumandeep Vidyapeeth/Dhiraj General Hospital (Vadodara, Gujarat, India), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York, NY, USA)

Funders: Private Donations & Global Health Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Objectives: To evaluate the knowledge and attitudes towards clinical depression among health care workers in the rural regions of Vadodara, Gujarat, India.

Depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 350 million people affected however fewer than half of the people with depression are treated. Although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries.

India in the second most populated country of the world with a population of 1.027 billion and approximately 6% of the population has a mental health disorder. Suicide is also a major health problem with over 100,000 people resorting to it annually.

The following research consists of a cross-cultural analysis examining attitudes toward depression and related factors amongst health providers in 19 villages in the district of Vadodara, Gujarat, India. This study focuses on the knowledge and attitudes and explores causal patterns concerning what factors predict attitudes toward seeking professional health.

An Exploration of the role of traditional healing in mental health among patients and community members in rural regions of Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Project Team: Ms. Julie Schoonover, Ms. Munazza Javid, Mr. Samuel Lipkin, Mehul Solanki, Dr. Craig Katz, Raghu Appasani

Partnering Institutions: Sumandeep Vidyapeeth/Dhiraj General Hospital (Vadodara, Gujarat, India), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York, NY, USA)

Funders: Private Donations & Global Health Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Objective: Determine various traditional healing treatment seeking behaviors among community members in rural Vadodara, Gujarat, India.

Brief:
This study will explore usage of traditional healing for purposes of mental health among several populations in rural villages in Gujarat, India. Our objective is to elicit community opinions of faith healing in the context of mental illness, including how patients decide to seek out a faith healer, the barriers to receiving this type of care, what type of intervention they receive, their perception of the efficacy of the treatment, and their satisfaction with the process. The populations evaluated can be divided into four categories: (1) MINDS/SVU patients who have used traditional healers; (2) MINDS/SVU patients who have not used traditional healers; (3) community members with mental illness who have not accepted services through MINDS/SVU; and (4) community members without mental illness. This data will be shared with our collaborating organization, MINDS, as they begin to provide treatment to those identified as having mental illness. Additionally we will attempt to collect names and numbers of healers with the goal to establish a cohort.

Knowledge and attitudes towards depression amongst community members in rural Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Project Team: Ms. Michelle Liu, Dr. Craig Katz, Dr. Bhavik Patel, Mehul Solanki, Raghu Appasani

Partnering Institutions: Sumandeep Vidyapeeth/Dhiraj General Hospital (Vadodara, Gujarat, India), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York, NY, USA)

Funders: Private Donations & Global Health Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Objectives: To evaluate the knowledge and attitudes towards clinical depression amongst community members in the rural regions of Vadodara, Gujarat, India.

The following research consists of a cross-cultural analysis examining attitudes toward depression and related factors amongst community members in 19 rural communities in the district of Vadodara, Gujarat, India. This study focuses on the knowledge and attitudes and explores causal patterns concerning what factors predict attitudes toward seeking professional health.

Structural Violence and Gender Inequality in Mental Health: A Medical Anthropological Study of Rural India

Project Team: Minoo Ramanathan, Chloe Murtagh, Dr. Pooja, Mehul Solanki, Raghu Appasani, Mehul Solanki, Dr. Robert Kohn, Dr. Christine Montross

Partnering Institutions: Sumandeep Vidyapeeth/Dhiraj General Hospital (Vadodara, Gujarat, India), Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University (Providence, RI, USA)

Funders: Private Donations & The Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University

Objectives: Link the literature review of existing power structures and their roots in rural India with an ethnography of daily life for women living with mental illness in rural regions of Vadodara, Gujarat, India.

Structural violence, a term coined by Johan Galtung and liberation theologians in the 1960s, describes social structures – economic, political, legal, religions and cultural – that stop individuals, groups and societies from reaching their full potential. The arrangements are structural because they are embedded in the political and economic organization of our social world, often rendering them invisible; they are violent because they cause injury to people (typically, not those responsible for perpetuating such inequalities). With a few exceptions, clinicians are not usually trained to understand such social forces, nor are they trained to alter them. However, it has become increasingly clear that many medical and public health interventions will fail if we are unable to understand the social determinants of disease.

The prevalence of mental illness in India (both rural and urban), in rate per thousand shows higher prevalence among women across studies done in different parts of the country. However, a comparison between males and females in the occurrence of severe and common mental disorders (in rate per thousand at risk of adult population) shows a higher prevalence of severe mental illness among males (13.10 for males vs. 11.50 for females) as opposed to common mental illness where the reverse is true (68.00 for males vs. 103.50 for females). Across these studies, severe mental illness is classified as problematic behavior such as that found in schizophrenia, depressive psychoses, mania, epilepsy, mental retardation and organic brain syndromes whereas common mental illness includes major depression, hysterias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, phobia and somatization disorders.

Patel et al showed that due to gender disadvantage, women in Goa, India are at greater risk for common mental disorders (CMDs). These disadvantages are often manifest as being married during adolescence, having reduced autonomy in decision-making, reduced integration in social activities, and reduced support from families. Patel posits that the most likely explanation for the association is that gender disadvantage increases the likelihood of experiencing adverse life events, a well-established risk factor for CMDs. However, there is still a dearth of research on the association of structurally determined vulnerabilities for women, in particular those reflecting gender disadvantage with CMDs in developing countries, providing the impetus for this particular project.

This project could lead to a greater understanding of how such inequalities are embodied as differential risk for common mental disorders and, among those already diagnosed, for adverse outcomes including ostracization due to stigma and even death. Gained knowledge will strengthen the MINDS Foundation’s clinical and community education initiatives by identifying key themes and presenting them to mental health professionals working in the region, as well as contributing to cultural psychiatry literature through the publication of creative nonfiction narratives.

Attitudes towards and knowledge of children’s’ mental health amongst rural primary schoolteachers in the Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Project Team: Shyam Desai, Claire Wright, Raghu Appasani

Funders: Private Donations & the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship

Objectives: Determine attitudes and knowledge of (children’s) mental health amongst rural primary schoolteachers.

This project could lead to a greater understanding of how schoolteachers ‘feel’ towards children’s mental health and how they currently manage such problems. This gathered knowledge will be used to strengthen the MINDS Foundation’s community education initiatives by identifying key themes and presenting them to mental health professionals working in the region, as well as contributing to cultural psychiatry literature through the publication of these results. More importantly, these results will be used to develop an appropriate mental health education module to train rural primary schoolteachers in children’s mental health, in turn, equipping with the knowledge and tools to manage problems seen in the classroom by their students.

Based on the existing literature, we hypothesize that rural primary schoolteachers tend to ignore many of the symptoms expressed by their mentally ill students. We hope that by developing an intervention we will be able to see a higher rate of mental health literacy post-education module.

Knowledge of and attitudes toward Depression among Primary Care Providers in Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Project Team: Dr. Daniella Loh, Amul Joshi, Raghu Appasani, Dr. Craig Katz

Partnering Institutions: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Sumandeep Vidyapeeth/Dhiraj General Hospital (Vadodara, Gujarat, India)

Funders: Global Health Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Objectives: Determine attitudes and knowledge primary care givers in the Vadodara district in order to develop a focused mental health education program for this demographic.

Attitude towards people with mental disorders among community mental health workers (CMHWs)

Project Team: Raghu Appasani, Lenox Byer, Amul Joshi, Dhara Joshi, Yuvraj Sisodia

Partnering Institutions: Medic Mobile, Sumandeep Vidyapeeth/Dhiraj General Hospital (Vadodara, Gujarat, India)

Funders: Private Donors & International Monetary Fund

Exploring the Perceived Impact of the MINDS Program on Attending Patients in Vadodara, Gujarat: A Framework Analysis

Project Team: Jishelle Chakkalackal, Matthew McVety, Vatsal Lal, Amul Joshi, Vasundhara Rani Thakur, Raghu Appasani, Dr. Sujit Rathod

Partnering Institutions: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Funders: Private Donors

Objective: Understanding how patients perceive the impact of MHNGOs is essential to improving patient care and informing future services. This qualitative analysis aimed to address this need by exploring the perceived impact of the MINDS program on patients as well as program accessibility.

Assessing the knowledge of mental health in upper and middle class families in Vadodara, Gujarat

Project Team: Jatin Gada, Lennox Byer, Megha Dalal, Vasundhara Rani Thakur, Raghu Appasani, Dr. Sandeep Shah

Partnering Institutions: Navrachana International School, Vadodara, GJ

Funders: Private Donors

Objective: Using two survey tools we aim to assess the existing knowledge towards mental health and wellbeing in families part of the Navrachana International School community. Tools used included: (1) Adolescent Emotional Adjustment Questionnaire, and (2) Mental Health Assessment Survey—for Adults.

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Annual Report

 

Scroll down to view our 2013, 2012 and 2011 Annual Reports. Please contact us at info [at] mindsfoundation.org for high resolution versions of our Annual Reports.

 

 

MINDS 2013 Annual Report

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MINDS2012 Annual Report

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MINDS2011 Annual Report

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