What is the C4MH Campaign?
The numbers are staggering- 1 in 10 Indians suffers from some serious mental illness issue at some point in their lives, and 10% of the population is affected at any given time. Nearly 75% of those affected are never able to understand their illness or seek access to mental healthcare services. (Source: NIMHANS National Mental Health Survey Report 2016-2017).
That’s millions of people suffering in silence for problems that are mostly effectively treatable. And despite this growing problem, India spends a paltry 0.06% of its total health budget on mental healthcare. (Population of India: 132.42 Cr., Health Budget: 48,853 Cr. Mental Health budget: 23.93 Cr.- Census 2016, Union Budget 2016-2017)
One student commits suicide in India every hour. So many young lives lost, so much human and national potential wasted, only because of a lack of support and understanding from those around them and the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
So what is the solution?
The solution lies in Awareness, Capacity Building, Learning Self-help methods and using the increasing penetration of telecom technology to achieve these ends.
The WHO recommends that ‘Investment by governments and the involvement of the social, health and education sectors in comprehensive, integrated, evidence-based programs for the mental health of young people is essential.’
Towards this end, Mind Specialists, together with the Department of Development Communication & Extension at Lady Irwin College (University of Delhi) and The Richmond Fellowship Society (Delhi) has launched the C4MH (Communication for Mental Health) Campaign.
The campaign has been envisioned as a vibrant network of individuals as well as organizations active in the social, education as well as health fields that can together create a movement and lasting impact in the way mental health is looked upon in India.
The campaign seeks to address the silence and lack of information and create an atmosphere of inclusiveness surrounding mental health issues at the grassroots level.
We believe that effective communication and correct knowledge is the first necessary step towards creating an environment that encourages breaking the silence surrounding mental health in India.
As part of the campaign, we create training material, posters, films and innovative communication tools (comic strips; traditional games like Ludo, Snakes & Ladders, Tambola etc.) with information on mental illnesses and the stigma surrounding them.
We hold capacity building workshops for community workers from other NGOs to sensitize them about mental health issues and to train them in the usage of our tools so they can take these tools to the communities they work with to deliver information that will help foster better understanding and acceptance of mental illnesses.
Through our trainings, we impart knowledge to grassroots and community health workers on early identification and appropriate referrals for mental illnesses and self-help methods to foster well-being.
We actively work with the youth, especially college students, to raise awareness about mental health issues and encourage them to seek support for themselves as well as offer it to those around them.
We are happy to partner with like-minded institutions, NGOs and governments across the world for awareness, capacity building and stigma reduction on mental health.
All of our training material and communication tools are available on our website, in English as well as in Hindi. The information is available free of cost and can be used to create awareness for the cause, bearing in mind copyright issues.
In the short span of time since the launch of the campaign, 12 partner organizations joined our efforts and sent their representatives to get trained with us on recognizing common mental illnesses and the usage of floor games to spread awareness on mental health issues. They took the campaign forward by conducting 32 awareness programs of their own in the span of just about one month (upto 20th October, 2018) within their communities.
The C4MH World Mental Health Day Celebrations
The campaign celebrated the World Mental Health Day on the 9th of October 2018 at Lady Irwin College (University of Delhi). The theme for the event was “You Are Not Alone- Let’s break the silence together this World Mental Health Day”.
In the lead up to the World Mental Health Day celebrations, the campaign had organized competitions where people from all over the country sent their entries on short films, poetry, slogans and posters on the theme of “We are not alone- Breaking the silence on mental health”. We received nearly 450 entries from 11 states from across age groups, with the youngest participant being 7 years old and the oldest being more than 60 years old. People from different walks of life participated in the competition to express their thoughts and opinions related to mental health. The entries were judged on their technical content, literary content and aesthetics by an eminent panel of judges, each of them distinguished in their field of work. The prizes for the competition were awarded on day of the event.
Partner NGOs of C4MH who have conducted awareness campaigns on mental health in their communities were recognized and felicitated on the day of the event. A group of children performed a Nukkad Natak on the stigma surrounding mental health in the society. There was an Odissi dance performance on human emotions like anger and peace by a student of Lady Irwin College.
The event had a ‘Gaming Zone’ where the visitors could play traditional games like Ludo and Stapoo, specifically designed for creating awareness on mental health as well as a ‘Storytelling Zone’ where they could read and hear stories on issues related to mental health. Selfie and Velfie Zones were stationed for people to click pictures and create short videos on the theme ‘You Are Not Alone’.
The event hosted Mr. Najeeb Jung, ex. Lieutenant Governor of Delhi as the Chief Guest; Dr. Nimesh G. Desai, Secretary- State Mental Health Authority and Dr. R.G. Anand, Member- National Commission for Protection of Child Rights as the Guests of Honor. The keynote speech was delivered by internationally renowned motivational speaker Sister BK Shivani who spoke to the audience about ‘Caring for their Mind and Relationships’.
The audience of more than 1000 out of which around 500 were students took a pledge for mental health led by Dr. Avdesh Sharma.
The C4MH Pledge:
I pledge to promote mental health in my family, workplace and the community through:
- Continuing to learn about mental health issues
- Sharing the knowledge with others
- Caring for my own mental health
- Supporting others for their mental health
- Fighting the stigma related to mental health