Advocacy for Mental Health: Create Leaders to Innovate and Break Stigma
September 9th • Mumbai, India

Advocacy for Mental Health: Create Leaders to Innovate and Break Stigma is an international mobility project developed by De Sousa Foundation (India), Association Alba (Spain), University of Thessaly (Greece), Karsiyaka District National Education Directorate (Turkey) and administered and initiated by the Indian-European Social Change Ecosystem, Make Room India

The project is developed as part of the Action Agenda for Change 2020 by a group of changemakers from India and Europe at the Changemakers' Room 2016 Training Forum. The project is submitted at the European Commission and is expected to run until 2020. Read more about the Changemakers' Room!

One out of four people will develop a mental health problem at some point of life, according to the WHO. Mental ill health accounts for 20% of the burden of disease within the EU. Over the 45 years, suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. 6 out of 20 countries with the highest suicide rates in the world are in the European Region. Unofficially though India is the suicide capital, with the highest number of youth suicides taking place, 130 thousand suicides in 2016. These figures represent a toll of human ill health, with an estimated 83 million people being affected in the European region and over 60 million in India. Majority of mental health illnesses develop early at adulthood between the ages of 16 and 25, therefore making it a significant problem among youth.

The project consortium has prioritised the following issues within the sector of mental health with focus on youth and is expected to contribute in solving the following issues:

1. Lack of strong leadership within the mental health sector, that leads to poor advocacy of mental health and encourages youth suffering from mental illnesses not to take action, to remain benefit seekers instead of job/opportunity creators, inactive members of the society;
2. Lack of quality information available to masses and lack of information/research exchange across borders, lack of cooperation between organizations of researchers/psychologists resulting in lack of proper, innovative consultation and treatment techniques;
3. Increasing societal stigma and cultural barriers associated to mental health issues leading youth not to undergo treatment when needed, lack of self-confidence, independence and a will to be actively involved in a society among youth suffering from mental illnesses.

The project consortium has agreed to develop the following interventions in order to contribute in solving the identified problems:

Intervention 1. - Capacity Building Curriculum for Strong Leadership - Create an ICT-based curriculum using non-formal learning methodologies to build capacities of youth suffering from mental illnesses.
Intervention 2. - Online Portal to Bridge Information Gap - to create an ICT platform to establish cooperation between organizations/individuals working in mental health sector and foster exchange of practices and comprehensive content on mental health issues among youth.
Intervention 3. - Gaming to Raise Awareness - to create an innovative, tangible tool to break stigma and cultural barriers of mental health within the society. The gaming tool will showcase the much needed information to reduce ignorance and stereotypes about mental health within the society.


Each one of the developed interventions are expected to be replicable, socially relevant and innovative. In order to develop the interventions benefiting not only the immediate target groups identified by the official consortium of the project, but the sector at large, Make Room India organizes an open forum for individuals and organizations active in the field of mental health.

Date: 9th September, 2017
Location: Mumbai, India
Venue: to be confirmed to registered participants
Time: 10 AM - 5.30 PM

The Forum will create 3 working/focus groups each contributing to one of the identified interventions: 1. Capacity Building Curriculum for Strong Leadership, 2. Online Portal/Model to Bridge Information Gap, 3. Gaming to Raise Awareness

The Open Forum is organized for individuals and organizations working in the sector of mental health notably with:
Education - Capacity building of individuals suffering from mental health issues;
Awareness - building socially relevant awareness campaigns breaking barriers/stigmas associated to mental health;
Research - producing qualitative information on latest within mental health

In order to participate at the Open Forum, the online registration form has to be filled. Upon successful registration an entry fee of INR 700/- has to be paid.

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Pragya Lodha

WhatsApp (0091) 959 170 0159 (Miks)

The project is set to align with the European policies of education, training and youth focusing on strengthening cooperation between youth organizations working in the field of mental health in Europe and India. The project aims at building capacities of young people, creating leaders among youth in all sections of society who struggle from mental health issues to lead sustainable, healthy and self-reliant lives. Also, the project creates new forms of practical training schemes, simulation games and produces qualitative content on mental health available to masses to break stigma associated to mental health.

The information and views set out in this project and forum are those of the organizing body, Make Room India, and the project consortium and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.


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