Anubhuti’s unique Mann Mela module is dynamically developing every year since its launch in 2018. It provides mental health literacy, awareness and support from a social justice lens, in a language that is accessible, easily understood, and unburdened by stigma and jargon.

Every year, another set of youth team is trained to conduct it, so that by now we have over 25 trained Mann Mela facilitators. Additionally every year, we take efforts to reach even more marginalized groups with the module. In 2018, we started with young college going women from economically vulnerable backgrounds. Next year we expanded to school going youth from similarly poor backgrounds. In 2021, we have taken Mann Mela to women, youth & men of rural, Adivasi, NT-DNT, migrant, informal worker backgrounds. With every step, we have to step up and work on the module to be inclusive of all these intersectionalities.

Last Sunday, youth organized their second Mann Mela of the year. The first was in Rahtoli village in rural Badlapur, and this latest was in semi-rural Kolegaon in Dombivali. Both primarily reached out to women and youth. This latest event was entirely managed by youth, from setting up logistics, networking with their village Zilla Parishad school for space, holding meetings to learn from the last event, mobilizing to ensure diverse participation, inviting guests and actual facilitation. They put in their wholehearted efforts; results could be seen when the Adivasi Pada outside the village participated in this event – the first village event in many years.

The event was inaugurated by the woman corporator (Nagarsevika) Shailaja Bhoir. Many, including Shailaja tai, spoke about how we had brought in a much needed and unique topic to the village. Women and men, openly spoke up about their mental distress, and many asked the youth for help to resolve their issues. It is very important to have such a trained team within the community, who have now been identified by the residents as working on this matter, and who will be following up on each case through our Community Counselling Centre.