Senior Management Team
- Dr. KV Kishore Kumar
- Ashok Kumar
- Murugan Krishnan
- Swapna Krishnakumar
- Preetha Krishnadas
- Mrinalini Ravi
- Archana Padmakar
- Nisha Vinayak
- Kamala Easwaran
- Lakshmi Narasimhan
Dr. KV Kishore Kumar began his career as a senior psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India, 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, in addition to working the Govt. of Karnataka on committees for prevention of corporal punishment and destitute relief centres.
Previously, Dr. Kishore has acted as an advisor for the World Health Organisation (WHO) on mental health services in Somalia and conducted psychosocial interventions at disaster sites across India including Orissa, Gujarat, and Jammu & Kashmir.
His research has spanned a wide variety of subjects including, mental health in primary care, pathways to care, interventions for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder & epilepsy, life skills training for youth, psychosocial care and disaster management and mental health care in conflict zones. Currently, he leads the clinical care team, along with Dr. Gopikumar and also serves as the Director of The Banyan and BALM.
Deputy Director - Services
Deputy Director - Finance
Mr. Murugan Krishnan has been the Deputy Director of Finance of The Banyan since 2008. He leads preparations of the annual budget for all programmes, keeps the accounts up to date, prepares financial reports for donors, and audits statements for Income Tax filing, and FCRA annual returns filing with the Ministry of Home Affairs.
He has a B.Sc in Physics from Madras University and a CA (Inter) under the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. From 1991 to 2007 he worked as Chief Accounts Office for The Association for the Rural Poor.
Deputy Director - Admin & HR
Assistant Director - NALAM Urban
Preetha Krishnadas is currently the Assistant Director for the NALAM Urban Mental Health Programme. She graduated with a Bachelors in Mathematics, but being an active member of National Service Scheme, she developed a passion towards working with people, which led her to pursue a Masters in Social Work, in which she specialised in Medical & Psychiatric Social Work.
She has also completed two post graduate diplomas in NGO Management and Human Resource Management and has worked in the social work field for over 12 years in organisations such as, Help Age India, Directorate of Public Health & Preventive Medicine and The National Institute of Epidemiology. During her time working in these organisations she has performed in a variety of roles such as Disaster Management, Rehabilitation, Psychosocial Interventions, Research, Fundraising and Event Management. Her interests lie in working with children and those who are differently abled.
Assistant Director - Skills
Mrinalini heads Skills Development and Vocational Training at The Banyan. She has been a part of The Banyan and BALM for over 8 years, handling different portfolios such as project management, research, field work coordination and teaching.
Her primary interests revolve around civil society engagement in meeting needs of homeless persons with mental health issues through volunteering initiatives, employment opportunities and outreach activities, and their impact on stigma reduction, social distance and agency. She’s currently exploring ideas for affirmative businesses led by persons homeless and poor with psychosocial needs.
Mrinalini has completed her Bachelors in Psychology from Women’s Christian College and Masters in Mental Health Services Research from King’s College London.
Assistant Director - ECRC
Since 2013, Archana Padmakar has been working with homeless women with psychosocial needs. 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 passionate about understanding the life stories and needs of the women who come into the ECRC and is interested in looking for options that could reduce their distress in a meaningful way. In addition to providing clinical assessments and interventions, she also works strategically in finding exit pathways for women with psychosocial needs. She also works with a multidisciplinary team to create multimodal interventions for both clients in inpatient and outpatient settings.
She is a visiting faculty member (Clinical Psychology) at BALM-TISS and is currently enrolled in a Ph.D programme at the Vrije University, Amsterdam. Her primary research interests lie in developing Adaptive Mental Health System Frameworks for individuals with mental health issues, her other research interests include long-term care options for individuals with mental health issues, caregiver burden, health care workers as change agents and personal narratives of women with mental health issues.
Prior to working for The Banyan, Archana worked as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist (Lecturer) for Dept. Of Psychiatry, Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMC), Vellore. During her time there, she assessed and implemented management plans, integrating biological, psychological and social interventions according to the needs of each individual patient’s socio-cultural background.
She has significant experience dealing with the impact of psychiatric disorder and its’ psychological treatment, on the patient as well as on families and caregivers. Archana believes that in providing care for those with mental health issues, the ability to maintain a therapeutic alliance while utilising an understanding, empathic and supportive approach that takes into account family dynamics and participation, for each individual is crucial.
She also has experience in cognitive, behaviour and brief dynamic techniques of psychotherapy as relevant to the socio-cultural environment. She has practised individual, family and sex therapy in addition, administered IQ assessments, projective techniques, personality tests and neuropsychological assessments and was actively involved in teaching programmes for Post-graduate registrars doing Diploma in Psychological Medicine, Masters in Nursing and Bachelors in Occupational Therapy and Ophthalmology.
Archana has also been involved with Antenne D’ Ecoute; an organisation which has close ties with the Luxembourg government and the Portugal Embassy, whose mission is to provide moral support to a population of immigrants who have difficulty in expressing themselves in Luxembourg/suffering from psychological issues due to immigration.
Through her work there, Archana has worked with families from whom the children have been separated and raised in a foyer due to non-conducive home environment. She also conducted workshops for Women’s Alcoholics Group (Luxembourg) on Stress Management and Emotional Intelligence and a proposal to the European Investment Bank (EIB) had been given by Antenne D’ Ecoute for her to conduct workshops for the bank employees too.
Assistant Director - NALAM Rural
Nisha Vinayak is a counselling psychologist who currently leads The Banyan's Rural Mental Health Programme- a well-being based model for community mental health based in Tamil Nadu. Also trained in physical and life sciences, she has a diverse background that gives her an analytical and problem solving bent that influences her role as a therapist, researcher and leader.
Assistant Director - Partnerships
Kamala Easwaran has a background in psychology and a Masters in Development Studies from King’s College London. She has been with The Banyan since 2011 in various capacities, and currently leads Partnerships.
Along with Dr.Gopikumar, and The Banyan team, Kamala is engaged in building the National Mental Health Coalition which seeks to create micro-networks of care, that provide access to safe spaces, therapeutic, personal recovery oriented services, and care at the last mile.
She continues to believe in the ‘one starfish’ story, and hopes to catalyse these spaces into robust advocacy platforms that invite articulation, discourse and debate on critical issues surrounding rights, and mental health care services in India - thereby building public demand, and increasing access to care.
She is currently a doctoral scholar at Vrije Universiteit , Amsterdam, and her thesis explores the nuances of the ill health - wellbeing trajectory amongst homeless/poor women with mental health issues. It is a prospective longitudinal study of individuals exiting institutional care spaces, that chronicles personal narratives, experiences of invisibilisation and hyper-segregation, deconstructs ‘quality of life’, and seeks to shed light on the tangible and intangible individual, community, and state level processes that enable or impede well-being.
She is also interested in understanding organisational culture, music and mental health, and representations of madness in art.
Head - Research
Lakshmi Narasimhan holds a Masters in Social Work in Social Welfare Administration from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and has been working in the homelessness - mental health space since 2005 with The Banyan. She currently leads the BALM - Sundram Fasteners Centre for Research and Social Action in Mental Health. She leads the implementation and research of projects aimed at quality of life gains using community-based approaches to mental health.
In her role, Lakshmi has served as the principal investigator and project lead for action research projects at The Banyan. These include NALAM, a well-being oriented, multi-interventional, tiered clinical and social support service spearheaded by community mental health workers; and Home Again, a housing with supportive services intervention offering exit pathways out of institutionalised care for persons with severe and persistent mental illness. She is currently engaged in a community re-entry and aftercare programme to address issues of long stay and incarceration in institutional facilities. Her interests are in understanding and developing social approaches for complex issues at the intersection of poverty, homelessness and mental health.