- India is going through a massive Mental Healthcare Crisis.
- Psychologists to the population ratio is decreasing every passing year.
- There is a lack of Mental Health Literacy in the society.
We, the students of psychology, have known this for a long time. After seeing the implications of this lack of mental health literacy in our personal and professional roles such as a research scholar, counselor, organizational psychologist, community worker, school teacher, and as a traveller.
We asked ourselves, “Why is this happening? What happened to all those people studying psychology with us?” Of course, we had to circulate a survey to understand the perceptions of psychology students and enthusiasts regarding the mental health scenario in India and their career paths. The results lead to one single answer – Confusion. And that there is inadequate career guidance, professional support, lack of data on mental health, no benchmarks – licensing etc.
Basically, the question is – What do we (psychology students in India) do with our degrees?!
That’s when Prarthana and her mother started Aatma Prakash | Mental Health Foundation and registered it as a not for profit mental health foundation. Amaresh and Mekhala joined later. Aatma Prakash aims to create a platform for psychologists and enthusiasts to serve the community in the area of mental healthcare. We strive to co-create a sense of well-being and community through ‘expression.’
- Children & Adolescents (Students)
- A set of 11 sessions aims at Mental Health Literacy
- The sessions are designed specifically for the Indian school ecosystem – students, teachers, and parents.
- The current system tends to focus extensively on mental illnesses and there is a lack of community approach.
- It aims to empower children to give and receive support in their community.
- It deals with issues such as stress, anxiety, bullying, addiction, restlessness, overthinking, negative thoughts.
- We also conduct similar interventions for corporates.
- Internships/Volunteering for Psychology Students
- At Aatma Prakash, we have a combined internship experience of 12 internships. We have noticed that since these internships were not structured properly, they have proven to be ineffective. We did learn but it could have been a better experience.
- It is a two-and-a-half-month program
- It is a structured program with 5 distinct stages to ensure adequate theory and practice.
- It gives interns the opportunity to plan and execute a training session under supervision, conduct community workshop, and learn about research methodology.
- It involves a lot of reflective exercises and academic writing.
- Adults (the society at large)
- Community Outreach
- We have a firm belief that communities are self-sufficient and know how to resolve their issues.
- To create and sustain a safe environment, we need to spread awareness in the community regarding taboo topics which are mostly neglect, overlooked, or avoided.
- It is a collection of 50 experiential workshops targeting niche issues faced by a particular community such as LGBTQ community, people suffering from addiction or terminal illnesses, the elderly.
- The workshops come from a learning space; not a teaching space. Thus, nobody teaches but everyone learns.
- Community Storytelling
- We believe that we are all stories in the end and that listening compassionately is therapeutic.
- Storytelling creates a safe space which allows members to share their stories and bond over them.
- It helps individuals explore the way they derive meaning than the actual meanings.
- It is deeply empowering as it shows how meaning shapes a sense of possibility.
- It brings the interpersonal dimension as individuals understand how they respond to a story and create meaning from a shared experience
- Community Outreach
We, at Aatma Prakash, want to provide psychological treatment with minimal or no medication – through raising inner awareness. We are a growing organization – we are currently being mentored by School of Social Entrepreneurs as a part of their Social Startup Fellowship.
We would love to hear from you. Do let us know if you’d like to participate in our research. We are happy to clarify any concerns you may have regarding Mental Health or Aatma Prakash work.
Do reach out to us: firstname.lastname@example.org