Bangalore: White Swan Foundation for Mental Health on Friday announced its launch as a not-for-profit organization that will deliver information services on mental health to the people.
In order to create and publish high quality content that keeps in mind the diverse needs of people, White Swan Foundation has entered into a partnership with National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS). As part of the partnership, White Swan Foundation will get access to the rich repository of knowledge on mental health that the coveted institution and its distinguished doctors have.
“NIMHANS is globally respected in the field of mental healthcare. In the nearly 90 years of its existence, NIMHANS has contributed to providing mental healthcare to the country; at NIMHANS, we have built rich knowledge in the mental health space. We are happy to incubate White Swan Foundation at NIMHANS; we believe it will go a long way in our efforts to fight mental illness and promote mental wellbeing,” said NIMHANS director and vice chancellor Dr P Satishchandra.
Mental Healthcare sector in India today faces numerous challenges. More than 20 per cent of Indians suffer from one or other form of mental health conditions. For a population of 1.2 billion people, India has only 4,500 psychiatrists. Even as mental health patients and their caregivers face issues related to lack of infrastructure, they also have to struggle with other problems such as widespread ignorance and deep-rooted social stigma, which lead them to a state of self-denial.
White Swan Foundation‘s mission is to ‘deliver information services for mental health and wellbeing’. The not-for-profit organization is founded by several Mindtree founders with initial support from two of its investors, said the foundation in a statement.
In its first phase, White Swan Foundation will deliver high-quality content through a portal in multiple languages to the youth in the Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities of India. Eventually, it will serve the information needs of every Indian citizen. The information repository will help patients, their caregivers and the general public in early detection and diagnose, seek remedies, learn about peer success stories, search for professional help and participate in the fight against social stigma surrounding mental health.
“White Swan Foundation has been created with the vision of placing in the hands of each citizen of the country access to information on mental health. We hope that with rich content and actionable information, we will be able to catalyse the transformation of the mental healthcare sector in India,” said White Swan Foundation chairman Subroto Bagchi.
“Mental health issues are closer to us than ever before. It is only through access to right knowledge that people will be empowered to take informed decisions on mental health. It is the people who, when they come out of ignorance, will demand better services and proactively participate to create a conducive social environment,” added Bagchi.
White Swan Foundation has constituted a Board of Advisors that will advise the organization on vision, strategy, implementation, governance and providing a global network. The Board of Advisors includes NIMHANS director and vice chancellor Dr P Satishchandra; former joint secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India, Sujaya Krishnan; NIMHANS registrar and head of the department of neurovirology Dr V Ravi; and professor, department of psychiatry, NIMHANS Dr Prabha Chandra.
“Even as mental healthcare professionals, social entrepreneurs and government agencies have been carrying out impressive work to reduce the treatment gap in mental health, social and infrastructural issues have prevented the tipping of the awareness scale. We must ensure that people are empowered with knowledge to seek and demand better services,” said former joint secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India, Sujaya Krishnan, adding, “The vision of White Swan Foundation to deliver information to people will go a long way in complimenting the contributions made by other institutions, agencies and individuals in the mental healthcare sector.”