Wednesday , 26 October 2016
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PHFI uses Durga Puja as an Opportunity to Raise Mental Health Awareness Amongst Youth in Delhi

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day (10th October 2016), the PRIDE project and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), supported by Wellcome Trust / DBT India Alliance are hosting a special 5-day event from 6th-10th October at the Durga Puja Festival hosted in Chittaranjan Park, New Delhi. The event aims to creatively raise awareness about mental health and engage young people on key issues of positive mental health and wellbeing, and challenge preconceived notions.



New Delhi youth pledge to talk about mental health at PHFI’s Mental Health awareness booth at Durga Puja this year


In India, depression, anxiety and conduct disorders (the ‘common mental disorders’) account for over 75% of the burden of mental disorders amongst the youth. This event is part of a larger mental health initiative led by eminent psychiatrist and researcher, Prof. Vikram Patel, Co-Director of the Centre for Control of Chronic Conditions at PHFI which aims to create a dialogue with youth in India on mental health and develop a psychosocial intervention for school-going adolescents.


Throwing light on the burden of mental illnesses among young people, Prof. Patel said, “Even though mental health difficulties are common in young people, they are often hidden from view for a variety of reasons, not least the stigma and shame attached to these problems. Using the arts and new media can be a more effective way to engage young people and bring mental health out of the shadows.”


Globally celebrated every 10th October, thousands of supporters across the world observe an annual awareness programme to bring attention to mental health and its profound impact on people’s lives worldwide.


In an effort to educate and advocate for better mental health, the WHO theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘psychological first-aid’, to promote an environment of calm, hope and empowerment, to help people with mental health problems. To this end, the PRIDE Project along with local youth organizations as partners – Quicksand, Youth Ki Avaaz, Music Basti, Dribble Academy, Manzil and Shapno Ekhon – is hosting an innovative outreach and engagement programme to contribute to the goal of addressing stigma, identifying strategies to cope and promoting positive mental health.


About the New Media Experiment

From the very first look, the Mental Health Stall stands out from all others, enticing festival goers and young audiences to enter inside to watch a 1 minute animated video that explores the simple yet impactful mental struggles we go through in our daily lives, and the methods through which we can cope with them. The video also guides visitors to play a game that asks them about their stressors and stress relievers.


Visitors are also invited to pick up a pocket-friendly comic and take selfies with a themed selfie-board created to help pledge to talk about mental health.


Youth organizations working for the rights of young people and marginalized communities will engage the audience through captivating theatre and music performances to promote an environment of hope and empowerment,and encourage help seeking behavior. All activities aim to highlight that there is no shame in asking for help andthat mental health is as important as physical health, and must be taken just as seriously.



PRIDE (Premium for Adolescents) is a research program seeking to develop psychosocial interventions for adolescents with mental health problems in India. Its Public Engagement component aims to enable a dialogue with young people around issues related to mental health through a variety of community based activities. PRIDE is implemented by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Sangath and is funded by the Wellcome Trust, UK.


For more information, please visit PRIDE.


About the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)

The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) is committed to working towards a healthier India. PHFI is helping to build public health institutional capacity in India, through interdisciplinary and health system connected education and training, policy and programme relevant research, evidence based & equity promoting policy development, people empowering health communication & advocacy for prioritised health causes. Established in 2006 as a public private initiative, PHFI is an independent foundation headquartered in New Delhi and its constituent Indian Institutes of Public Health (IIPH) set up by PHFI have a presence in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh), Delhi NCR, Gandhinagar (Gujarat) and Bhubaneswar (Odisha). The Foundation is managed by an empowered governing board comprising senior government officials, eminent Indian and international academic and scientific leaders, civil society representatives and corporate leaders.


For more information, please visit