Aviva Damania, (MSc Adult Mental Health, 2019), has set up an online mental health practice from her home city of Mumbai.

Published (Updated )

The City graduate, founded her mental health practice called ‘The Mind Essentials,’ at the beginning of 2020 – a service helping those with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, impulse control disorders and other mental health conditions.

Now seeing five clients a day and 50 a month, Aviva balances her online practice with a full time job as a Senior Manager in Corporate Wellness at Indian trade distributor, Pittie Group.

By establishing her online practice, Aviva says she is following in the footsteps of her parents, who founded The Banyan Tree English School for underprivileged children in Dharavi, the third largest slum in the world.

Mental health and lockdown

Working within the mental health industry during a global pandemic is challenging, says Aviva, but she is determined to ensure that her practice is there for the people who need it the most.

Aviva said: “This pandemic and lockdown has brought about a surge in new cases of anxiety, depression and domestic violence both in India and all over the world.

“In addition to this, employees everywhere are facing questions about their financial and job security, their future employment, changes to their working hours and parental duties.

"This is why services like mine are so important, people must have the option to seek help when they need it.

“I want to impact and empower as many people as I can with my practice. Eventually if all goes well, I want to be able to deliver mental health care as part of a public service – similar to the support that my parents were able to offer children in Dharavi.”

Mental health in India

Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that out of a population of 1.3 billion, over 90 million people in India suffer from a mental health disorder, and while there is recognition for a growing demand in services, Aviva says that more must be done.

“Mental health is still a growing area in India. There are lots of private practises doing some great work, but I don’t think it’s quite in proportion with the population. It is also restricted only to major cities and not as prevalent in rural areas.

“We could surely do with more quality publicly funded mental health services for more affordable and accessible. In terms of policy, I think there may inadequate policy relating to mental health, but with the rapidly increasing awareness of mental health in India, I think it’s just a matter of time.

“We have phenomenal hospitals, doctors and superior healthcare systems all that’s left is the integration of mental health care and collaborative working. I’m sure that too will make its way into the Indian healthcare system.”

For more information on Aviva’s mental health practice see http://themindessentials.com.