In 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that roughly 7.5 per cent Indians suffer from some form of a mental disorder, and predicted that by the end of 2021, close to 20 percent of Indians will suffer from mental health illnesses. With a shortage of mental health professionals, a culture of denial and hesitation, a majority that cannot afford professional help, these statistics confirm that there is a desperate need for informed discourse around mental health and the systems that affect it.
Read more: Mental health helpline received 72,000 calls in a year, thanks to the pandemic
Below is a curated list of free support groups and helpline numbers that can offer professional care or connect you with a community of people navigating similar challenges.
We Survive is a support group for adult survivors of child sexual abuse. They conduct weekly meetings online, for free, and accept participants via email.
Contact: 9820492036 or email@example.com
Aasra is a crisis intervention centre for those who are suicidal and/or emotionally distressed, based out of Navi Mumbai.
Find more information here. Contact: Johnson Thomas on 9820466726
Let’s Discuss the Meh
Let’s Discuss The Meh is a safe space for those struggling with emotional distress. Before this, they were a support group for depression specifically. They hold meetings every week and are free.
Maitri is a Mumbai-based support group for those suffering from a mental illness, and their families. For over a decade, they’ve worked with patients living with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and organise weekend meetings.
Contact: Ms. Samrin Shaikh: (022) 2683 8895, Harish Shetty: (022) 2683 8895 / 26840720
All Sorts of Queer
ASQ is a peer-to-peer support group for anyone identifying as LBT (not cisgender). They accept participants via email and hold meetings on the last Saturday and second Wednesday of every month.
Read more: Labelled, bullied, humiliated: What LGBT students in our schools go through
The Village is an online support group for all single parents who are raising children independently. They meet every month, and there is a direct sign-up form available on their website.
Umang is a support group for lesbian and bisexual women and trans persons (LBT). It is a free group that accepts participants via email.
More info here. Contact: 9930095856, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dilaasa is a support group that has been organised especially for family members of those living with schizophrenia, or any other mental illness. They organise regular meetings (mainly over the weekend) at the Masina Hospital in Byculla.
Wansa is a platform for Kashmiri women and their experiences with living in a conflict region. They hold meetings weekly and there is a direct sign up form available on their website.
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