Updated Jan, 18th 2013
1) The pitch
The MINDS Foundation uses a grassroots approach to eliminate three key barriers to mental healthcare in rural India: social stigma, economic stress, and accessibility.
2) The email
My name is Amy Ko, and I’ve been a volunteer at The MINDS Foundation for the past 6 months as part of our PR/Marketing team. I’m writing to tell you a little more about The MINDS Foundation, and why it’s so important to me and to communities around the world.
We’re a scrappy little nonprofit, but we have a big mission. We want to change mental healthcare around the world, and are starting out in India. This all began about three years ago, when Raghu, our founder and CEO, was attending Wesleyan University. As a student, he volunteered in India, was floored by the state of the rural mental healthcare system, and decided to do something about it.
We’ve made a lot of progress these past few years but have dedicated so much time and energy to our work that we haven’t had the opportunity to really put ourselves out there. MINDS has established a partnership with psychiatrists at Sumandeep Vidyapeeth University, employed a fulltime social worker, and has a Director of Programs all working together in Gujurat, India. We are mostly volunteers and students who dedicate our nights and weekends to our passion for social change.
As a small nonprofit, we’re not looking for donations or free publicity. Instead, in the spirit of transparency, we aim on connecting with movers and shakers like you to share our work, and through you, invite the public to ask questions, give us feedback, and push us harder.
If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to reach out at [email protected].
3) List of assets
4) Final press kit
We’re focused on eliminating three barriers to mental healthcare in rural India: (1) social stigma, (2) economic stress, and (3) accessibility. At the core of the MINDS Foundation is our commitment to bridge existing resources and develop partnerships with others already contributing to creating an impact in the sector.
The MINDS Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Waltham, Massachusetts, was founded in 2010 by Raghu Appasani. As a student at Wesleyan University, Raghu volunteered at an eye clinic in India, in addition to witnessing a close family member enter the rural mental healthcare system. Those experiences helped to fuel his passion to make a difference by starting the MINDS Foundation.
In a developing country such as India, there are three primary barriers which account for the lack of proper mental health care. Of the 3,500 psychiatrists in the whole country of over 1.2 billion, the majority of them are located in urban centers. However, an estimated 70% of the population resides in rural regions of the country. Much of this population is unaware of the resources available for treating mental illnesses.
Through a three-phased approach, MINDS Foundation addresses the importance of mental health education in order to develop a supportive community for patients. Next, we provide transportation services for patients and their families to local clinics to receive consultation and treatment. We continue to work with patients throughout their treatment cycle and aid in reintegrating them into their communities through holistic treatment plans.
It is our hope that by providing educational, medical, and reintegration tools for rural persons, we can bring about systemic changes to the ideology of mental health within India. Further, we strive to improve our model for use across the developing world to serve the lowest-income communities.