Burans Mental Health Program

Burans, a new partnership project between CHGN Uttarakhand and EHA opened on 31 May 2015. Burans are the red and vibrant rhododendron flowers that cover the hillsides and mountains of Uttarakhand every spring. Burans project works with communities for mental health in Uttarakhand hoping that similarly colour and hope can be found as people with mental disorders find recovery and opportunities for participation.

Burans works with four implementing partners who are all part of the Uttarakhand cluster of CHGN – HOPE, OPEN, LCH and Sneha. Sneha leads the youth mental health area while the other three partners work in three communities in Majra, Sahaspur and Mussoorie. This first year of Burans has been full of action and learning.

Key outputs and outcomes

- Appointing 4 project officers, a project coordinator and 12 community workers to make up a team starting with 18 people. In April 2015 this number was added to with 5 new staff for the Youth Burans project with Sneha organisation.

- Completing a baseline survey of 960 randomly selected households in 2 blocks of Dehradun district

- Identifying over 300 people with mental disorders (around 100 in each of our communities) who are now registered in our Burans project

- Facilitating access to specialist mental health services for over 120 people with mental disorders

- Collaboration with JOYN India to provide part-time employment for 15 caregivers of PWMD in Sahaspur working with HOPE NGO

- Forming 7 caregiver support groups

- Training and relationship building with over 60 community leaders who can now identify common and severe mental disorders

- 45 actions taking by community leaders to support mental health in their community

- Training over 100 ASHA and Anganwadi workers to identify and treat mental illness

- Building effective relationships with the district health authorities

- Completing over 25 days of training for Burans staff in community mental health, counselling

- Developing brochures, posters and a youth resilience manual

- Establishing an advisory group who provides technical support and input to our work

- Producing a quarterly newsletter for donors and partners

The pre-existing strengths of relationships in communities with each partner NGO, and commitment from the Burans partners to bringing change and work for mental health has been a great strength of this partnership so far. We continue to be grateful for the opportunity to work in this area of mental health which is much neglected in 2015 and beyond and thank God for all the support, encouragement, hard work and input we have received from CHGN cluster.