Around the world today, evolution has taken place in various forms however, the recognition of mental (illness and health) remains a highly stigmatized area of thought. Apart from the structural barriers, religion, tradition and poor public health care infrastructure have further contributed to the concern. According to The World Health Organisation, epidemics of major depression and schizophrenia raise the risk of early mortality by 40-60%.
It isn’t a surprise that India as a nation has one of the lowest mental health acceptance rates worldwide. A developing country, stooped in superstition and orthodox thinking, remains widely unaccepting and ignorant towards the mental health epidemic raging in the motherland.
With the growing rates of mental illnesses and disastrous consequences following their non- recognition including major depression, isolation and suicide in the country there is a vital need for a functional mental health sector, working towards the gradual de-stigmatization of individuals, garnering awareness and providing subsidized and therapeutic treatment plans to sufferers.
The Circle, is a non-profit community which started as one offering advice, support and empathy to anyone that had been or is a victim of gender based violence. Initiated at Wilson College, Mumbai, it began with a group of four young girls, Adrija Sen, Nadia Sehgal, Pooja Nair and Mitali Adhikari finding solace in each other in discussing their personal, abuse experiences.
Today, The Circle has branched out into providing support for people suffering from depression, anxiety, panic disorder and much more. Starting in Mumbai, the community has also launched successful sessions in Bangalore and is increasing its reach steadily.
Their unique approach to mental health including dance and martial arts workshops, movie screenings and open discussions has made them the worthy pillars of mental health advocates that they are.