Semicolon (;) The Mental Health Awareness Project – India (MSAI)

Name of the activity: Semicolon (;) The Mental Health Awareness Project

Country/NMO: India (MSAI)

Program: Mental Health


Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Education


General description:

Semicolon (;) The Mental Health Awareness Project, tackles issues of awareness and stigmas related to mental health in India and initiates the process of ‘Let’s talk’. Targeted to High School students from 8th to 12th Std. Through awareness event and follow up event, talks and addresses information regarding mental health, stigmas associated with and prevention strategies. The follow up activity focus on areas like guess the disorder, major stressors and was they can be, personal reflection and finally soft skills of how to initiate the process of let’s talk for better mental health. Every event has a impact assessment strategy and progress of the event is monitored continuously.

Focus area:

Mental Health advocacy and public awareness

Problem statement:

India a country 1.324 billion people, has 41% of its entire population in the age group of 15 years to 30 years. Intentional Self harm (Suicide) is the second most common cause of death in population with in the age group of 15 to 29, and one of the top ten causes of death amongst the general population of India. High Stress and competitive life, uncertainty of job and income, High expectations from the family, lack of awareness of mental health issues, lack of treatment providers and counsellor, high prevalence of stigma for mental health issues and lack of acceptance and rehabilitation makes mental health once of the most neglected health issue in India. To add to the economic burden of mental health disorders is so huge that the affected families have to spend nearly Rs.1,000 – Rs.1,500 a monthly mainly for treatment and to access care.
7.5% of Indians suffer from major or minor mental disorders that require
expert intervention.
• The prevalence of depression increased by 18% from 2005 to 2015.
Depression, anxiety, tobacco abuse are as high as 10% of the total population.
Neurosis and stress related illness are seen more in females.
According to reports by national alliance on mental illness(NAMI):
• 1 in 5 children between the ages 13-18 will have a serious mental illness
• 10% of youth have a behavior or conduct disorder and 8% have anxiety
• Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in children aged 10-24 of which
90% had an underlying mental illness
Prevalence of mental health issues in teenagers aged between 13 to 17 is 7.3.

Areas that National health policy lack
Inspite of high prevalence(10% common mental health disorders, 1.9% severe
mental health disorders) there is severe lack of awareness of common mental health
illness. To add to huge gap in treatment at more than 60%. Existence of both
Communicable Diseases and varied NCDS has pushed Mental Health as the low
priority public health agenda. The health information system does not prioritise
mental health, financing. The existing policies are highly non streamlined.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

High School students:- 8th to 12th Std ( 15yrs-20yrs old)

Objectives and indicators of success:

Goal:- To create awareness about mental health and associated stigma, amongst High School students 8th to 12th Std (15yr to 18yr olds).

1. To share basic knowledge of various inorganic mental health conditions
during the first awareness session.
2. To share information of how mental health conditions are diagnosed and
various treatment options during the first awareness session.
3. To share characteristic of a mentally healthy person during the first
awareness session.
4. Explain and elaborate the importance of mental health (just like absence of
diseases, physical health and wellness) . With help of the WHO definition of
5. Deconstruct the stigma surrounding mental health, discuss various stigmas
that exist, why they exist and their scientific basis.
6. Discuss the major stressors that students between the age of 15 to 20 face
during the first awareness session.
7. To share healthy ways of life to prevent mental illness mention during the
awareness event and specific group discussion during the follow up event.
8. To share ways of how to talk with depressed person with help of elaborate
group discussion during the follow up event.
9. To encourage medical student to be active advocates of mental health,
through pre event group discussion with fellow local officer and volunteers, effective interaction with the target groups and finally post event assessment.

Success indicator:-
a. General Indicators
1) Number of on ground events :- minimum 5
2) Number of high school students reached:- minimum 500
3) Quality of interaction and involvement of the audience during the event :- Inclusion of minimum one small working group interactive session

b. Specific Indicators
1) More than 50% of students have understood the concept of the mental health.
2) More than 50% of students have understood importance of mental health (WHO definition of health)
3) More than 30% of students know how to talk to general population about mental health and illness
4) More than 50% can tell 2 or more than two ways to achieve and maintain good mental health


We designed the awareness event which can help us reach maximum target population. Resource have been prepared that help deliver objectives 1 to 7 in a one hour compact yet high yield session. We at SCOPH India 17-18 specifically believe in impact delivery and impact assessment, for the same we developed a follow up event,in which same volunteers address the same target audience 7 days after the original event. Follow up event is based on a assessment questionnaire and group discussion format. The audience is asked to fill up the assessment questionnaire, post that 1:10 (volunteer : students ratio) group are formed and each group discusses a case, where symptoms, ways to approach and talk and encourage to visit a specialist and associated stigmas are discussed in great detail.

Plans for evaluation:

Develop strategy of monitoring, impact assessment and finally evaluation of subjective experience and feedbacks.
1. Follow up questionnaire (for objective detailing for calculating the impact on the audience.)
2. Post event follow up with every volunteer to understand his/ outlook on the subjective impact of the event and with help of asking each to scale every objective on scale of 1 (least achieved and 10 most achieved and impact)
3. Technical indicators like (Number of events and stuff) to determine the outreach of the project (resources and the team)
4. Post event report for subjective description of the event, official Certification and subjective assessment by the event coordinator.

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