I exist, therefore I am.

Our Vision

An inclusive and humane world that promotes capabilities, equity and justice.

For seven years, my husband drank a lot and his mental health was badly affected but I dealt with it on my own. I couldn’t tell anyone outside because I felt it would reduce my respect. I brought him to The Banyan four years ago and he has not drunk a single sip since then.

I thought about all the people out there, who like me can’t tell anyone about their situation. I thought that I could share my example and help in some way.

a NALAM Mobilizer

CORE VALUES & BELIEFS

Enabling access to health and mental health care for persons living in poverty and homelessness through comprehensive and creative clinical and social care approaches embedded in a well-being paradigm. The needs of those who live in the margins are our collective responsibility.

Since 1993,  The Banyan has developed a variety of holistic mental health solutions that address multifaceted components of distress. This includes, emergency and acute medical, psychiatric and psychological care offered through our street based care and through our hospital settings, shelter based services, community based outpatient care and inclusive long term care options for persons with high support needs.  

 

 Person Centered & Recovery Oriented   Dignity, Agency & Participation   Social Justice & Inclusion 

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Our Impact

HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS RESCUED

3,000

RETURNED HOME

70%

IN AFTERCARE

233

OUTREACH

1M

NALAM MOBILISERS TRAINED

200

PANCHAYATS

50

CHILDREN IN YOUTH CLUBS

400

LAY WORKERS IN OUR WORKFORCE

500

CLIENTS ENGAGED IN WORK

60%

SUPPORT GROUPS

35

Buddhist Psychology Workshop

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Have you noticed a homeless person in the Greater Chennai Area whom you suspect is suffering from mental illness?

Call our 24x7 Hotline

1 day ago

The Banyan

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#pongalcelebrations
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1 week ago

The Banyan

Day Three - Panel One on participatory approaches in mental health.

Vikram Patel begins by emphasising - It is impossible to address people’s mental health problems without tackling social determinants of their illness. Community level participation is intrinsically intertwined with wellness - it challenges notions that structure mental health service provision. 'It finally allows one to democraticise mental health, take it out of present context of control and position it back into the lives of those whom it belongs to.'
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Charlene Sunkel draws from her experience of living across institutions in conditions she describes as 'unconducive and oppressive'.

People exclaim often to her - 'But you don't look or sound like you have schizophrenia!'

There's an imperative for people with lived experience to be more than mere participants in research - move to roles of working alongside as researchers in their own right as peers and disseminate research for advocacy and lobby.
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Bhargavi Dhavar stresses mental health is a development topic at a larger level - she throws caution that 'group homes should not become mini institutions' - a population approach in the forefront will allow for larger cooperation. Distinguishes between consent and choice (where the former lies solely in the biomedical paradigm vis a vie the latter being personally dictated, autonomous).
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Mark Salzer says concentrating on 'collective knowing' will help creating unique pathways to participatory networks - 'mutual aid' for PLMI and can be 'major drivers of change'.
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Elizabeth Neuville iterates that we have to respect tension between autonomy / safeguarding. She also brings up the narrative of conflicts / power and how diffusing them is needed (and 'who' diffuses them).
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Tanya Dutt underlines the travails that come with finding feasible work opportunities for PLMI. She says the field is 'fraught with complications'. Narrates the story of Ramesh, his aspiration to be an electrician, rejections and his ongoing journey to get there.
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Anagha Raje (Social Services Superintendent) highlights the many changes brought about in RMH, Nagpur to transform the facility - choice
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1 week ago

The Banyan

Last panel of day two : Spotlight on the needs for inclusive living options, implementing ILO in mental health care. On the stage are Prof Deborah Padgett (NYU), Dr. Ganesan Mahesan (NIMH Sri Lanka), Mr Bagus Utomo (Komunitas Peduli Skizofrenia), Ms Rita Seth (Sambandh), Mr Hamid Dabholkar (Parivartan), Ms Monira Rahman (Innovation for Wellbeing Foundation).
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1 week ago

The Banyan

Sanjeev Jain succinctly says that instead of waxing eloquent implementing social care in the context of MH institutions will result in seamless communities of care that are not damagingly intrusive
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Andrew Wilford draws from his research with the adivasi communities and says cultural descriptions are intertwined with stressors ever so often. Reviving cultural responses will result in intergenerational dialogues (actioned by workers from the community like the NALAM workers at Aswini Tribal Clinic for MH in Gudalur)
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Dr Soumitra Pathare says - Mental health systems commit errors of commission and omission and conveniently ignore the social context of why illnesses happen - tackling this will result in outcomes

Adds that MHP operate in silos and speak different languages - this results in lack of cohesion

Touches on how pejorative ridden language reflects reductionist attitudes ('inmates' / 'handed over' - identity of users more than their illness)

Ends by saying that caste is a dominate narrative of exclusion in india which often sees invisibility adding credibility to the concern
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Nimesh Desai speaks about mindless discharges and how that contributes to trans institutionalisation
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Ratnaboli Ray starts off with - is inclusivity about infrastructure? Talks about sexuality and how relationships forbidden within institutional spaces - and access to pleasure will change the entire landscape of people within the system.

Says personal is political and keeping diverse stakeholders engaged with this thought necessary. For all this a space for solidarity to exist is needed.
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Malarvizhi speaks about living in multiple institutions and how they have overwhelmingly 'been a bad experience' and how her stay continued even post recovery ('we remove crutches once fracture heals - why is it different for those with MI?'.

Aftercare needs take predominance and need to be taken up - says while MHCA 2017 recognises it, it should be more than just paperwork - actual implemention needed (uses analogy of writing sugar in paper is different from eating sugar).
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1 week ago

The Banyan

In the second panel of the day on role of state and society,

Tasneem Raja points out that inclusivity is more of an attitude than spatial thought and how with simple doable actions this can be furthered

Shampa Sengupta highlights contradictions between different laws that result in ambiguities which fester societal discrimination against people with psychosocial disabilities

Harsh Mandar stresses on the need to overarch one's inability to look at people with extreme disadvantages as worthy of equal dignity as well as the need for voluntary safe spaces that eclipse mere provision of shelter

Amita Joseph ponders on what actually causes of destitution and the need for fostering alliances that address the same

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@poojavnair @IndiaCultureLab @mariwalahealth @TheBlueDawn56 For example - I’ve known MHPs to have a limited understanding of family - the natal family. For queer people the natal family can be a source of great violence and trauma. Maybe for us ‘family’ means a family we choose - the bonds we form on the margins. @IndiaCultureLab

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Help the Supreme Court avoid the mistakes made during the #Erwadi PIL.

Instead of doing the remove shackles, release to families / round up to #mental hospital exercise and renounce responsibility exercise as earlier, think about this instead :
Contd @
https://t.co/Cj6wlDdbWI

Best described as 'thinking in progress' so please tear to bits as necessary 'Supported living, or ‘hidden institutions’ Blogged: https://t.co/8IoLNdrVaU @smclrk @billrlove @TheSmallPlaces @RightfulLives @TwittleyJules @AliciaWood___ @mroutled @juestanny

Cyntoia Brown, 16, killed a man who picked her up for sex and threatened her life. Sentenced to life imprisonment, spent 14 years in jail.

Jeffrey Epstein, billionaire, raped and trafficked at least 80 underage girls. Did 13 months in luxury private prison, with day release.

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