The need for mental health services in India is great, and given the numerous infrastructural and socioeconomic challenges associated with delivery and access to care, it is crucial for services to be made available in the community so that people don’t have to travel to institutions far from their homes.

Keeping this need in mind, Ummeed has developed and will be piloting a training program for community workers using narrative principles and practices. Narrative ideas and practices emphasize the use of existing resources, problem solving skills and knowledge that people have to tackle mental health concerns. This approach is being used at Ummeed since 2006 and we have found it culturally relevant and effective in our counselling practice. Adapting narrative principles to an Indian context is particularly appealing as it is a non-pathologising, respectful, non-blaming approach to mental health concerns. Additionally, Ummeed has been using this approach since 3 years as part of its one year part-time annual Mental Health Training Program (MHTP), which trains mental health professionals in working with children and families.

In order to extend our reach, the new Community Mental Health Program (C-MHTP), developed by Ummeed in collaboration with Narrative Practices Adelaide (NPA) and NGOs working in the communities, will be targeting community workers.

The pilot will be implemented with 20 workers from The Akanksha Foundation and The Research Society (Jai Vakeel School for the Intellectually Challenged). It will be structured in three teaching blocks of 5 days each spread across 6 months, and will be taught in Hindi. There will be a supervision contact with the community workers once a fortnight to facilitate skill development. Using the narrative approach, community workers will be trained in early identification, awareness raising, stigma reduction and provision of appropriate care to people with mental health concerns and disorders in the communities.

If the pilot is successful, our hope is that this program can be rolled out on a larger scale as well as converted into a train-the-trainer model that can increase reach and thereby impact more children and families.

Block 1 – January 27th to 31st January

Block 2: 16th to 20th March

Block 3: 15th to 19th June

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