Senior management team
Lt General Surinder Mehta (AVSM, SM, VSM and Bar to VSM) is the CEO of The Banyan and The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM), where he spearheads multiple portfolios in the intersections of strategy, partnerships and resource management. He retired as a Lt General from the Indian Army at the highest rank from the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) and anchored a multitude of leadership positions at strategic, inter-service and operational levels. Post this, he worked as CEO of The Hans Foundation which supports social development programs through a wide range of stakeholders, actioning work in the cross-cutting areas of education, disability, health and livelihoods.
Dr. KV Kishore Kumar began his career as a senior psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, heading Community Health Services in the Department of Psychiatry. He has served as advisor to the Govt. of India on the National Mental Health Policy and District Mental Health Programme. He leads the clinical care team and is the Director of The Banyan and BALM. His research has spanned a wide variety of subjects including mental health in primary care, pathways to care, interventions for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and epilepsy, life skills training for youth and psychosocial care in disaster and conflict-affected communities.
Ashok Kumar has been with The Banyan since its inception. He began his career through direct client care services and thereafter engaged with fundraising and partnerships for many years. He now oversees and develops layout and design for annual reports and communication materials. He also manages The Banyan’s compliances matters and maintains liaison with state and central welfare departments.
Murugan Krishnan has been working with The Banyan for over a decade. He leads the preparation of the annual budget for all programmes, prepares financial reports for donors and audits statements for income tax and FCRA returns filing. He previously worked as Chief Accounts Officer for The Association for the Rural Poor and is a CA (Intermediate) under the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
Preetha Krishnadas has a bachelors in Mathematics and has a postgraduate degree in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work. She leads The Banyan’s Nalam Urban Mental Health Program which delivers community wellness oriented care services in nine wards of Chennai and in collaboration with the DMHP in Sriperumbudur. Her interests lie in working with children and people with disabilities. Preetha has previously worked with HelpAge India, Directorate of Public Health, Preventive Medicine and the National Institute of Epidemiology in various capacities.
Vanitha has a postgraduate degree in Psychology and has been associated with The Banyan since 2003. She heads The Banyan’s Nalam Rural Mental Health Program which delivers community based services in Thiruporur Taluk and in collaboration with the DMHP in Kattumannarkoil Taluk. Her interests are in working with children on issues of self harm, suicide and grief support and art-based therapy.
Mrinalini has been a part of The Banyan for over 8 years handling different portfolios. She heads the BALM Sundram Fasteners Centre for Mental Health and Social Action. Her primary interests revolve around service user advocacy and civil society engagement in meeting the needs of homeless persons with mental health issues. Mrinalini has completed her bachelors in Psychology and holds a postgraduate degree in Mental Health Services Research from King’s College London.
Archana is a clinical psychologist with a PhD from VU, Amsterdam. She leads the Emergency Care and Recovery Centre at The Banyan working closely with the clinical team to design psychosocial interventions in a user-centric way. She is interested in user life stories and in exploring options that could reduce distress in a meaningful way. She previously worked with Antenne D’ Eccoute associated with the Luxembourg government and Portugal Embassy and was a Consultant Clinical Psychologist (Lecturer) for Department of Psychiatry at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMC), Vellore.
Salih PM has a postgraduate degree in Social Work with a specialisation in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work with a decade of experience in the mental health sector. He heads the Kerala chapter of The Banyan and leads all interventions and collaboration with the health and social justice departments. He is a member of the state level monitoring committee for Shelters for the Urban Homeless. His primary interest is in rights based psychosocial care for homeless people with mental health issues.