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Addressing mental health concerns among marginalised groups affected by homelessness and proverty through research, education and advocacy


Founded in 2007, The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM) is a mental health and social science research and teaching institution, embedded in the philosophy of bridging the gap between theory and practice, focused on building skilled human resources, impacting service provision, and evolving effective policy directions. BALM emerged from a decade and a half of deep grassroots inquiry into mental health, poverty, scarcity and inequity, vulnerability and marginalisation through services offered at The Banyan, and seeks to overcome the tremendous knowledge and resource gap in the mental health and development sectors.


"An inclusive and humane world that is capabilities, justice and equity promotive"


"Enabling access to health and mental health care for persons living in poverty and homelessness through comprehensive and creative clinical and social methods and innovations embedded in a well-being paradigm, ensuring an enhanced quality of life - The needs of those who live on the margins are our collective responsibility."

For more information on The Banyan,
Please visit www.thebanyan.org

The Banyan


There is a critical need to move beyond the established bio-medical paradigms and explore the nuances of individual behaviour patterns, social interactions and representations, to make real advancements in mental health, and alleviate distress and promote recovery.

Thus BALM seeks to re-locate practice in mental health from a strictly bio-medical perspective to a more holistic social, cultural and anthropological framework, rooted in the social justice and development paradigm. It aims to address complex and persistent problems in the multi-dimensional and constantly evolving landscape of health from a social science perspective.

It will drive research and field action across the mental health and social sciences, and through it, explore complex interactions of multiple phenomena including but not limited to, social determinants of health, illness, human geography, social interactions, human behaviour and patterns of help seeking, and highlight the link between micro, meso and macro level approaches based on practice based evidence.


Centre for Research and Social Action in Mental Health

Mental Health and Social Action Lab

The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM), incubates the Centre for Research and Social Action in Mental Health, a research, teaching, practice and leadership hub embedded in the philosophy of bridging the gap between theory and practice.

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Working Group on Inclusive Development

A collaboration between BALM – Boston University – Vrije Universiteit (VU), and Tata Institute

Working Group on Homelessness and Marginality

In collaboration with the Centre for Equity Studies, and New York University (McSilver Poverty

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Gender violence and mental illness, Mental health and inclusive development


Amita Joseph, Elango Ramaswamy, Aarti Madhusudan, Prof. Andrew Wilford, Dr. Sashidharan, Dr. Deborah Padgett


Global South Initiative (GSI) - Justice and the rights of homeless persons with psychosocial needs


Movement evra pflaster zur verhütung | ohnerezeptfreikauf for global mental health - MGMH Summit

Stakeholder Engagement

With the recent acceptance of the new Mental Health Policy in October 2014, that encourages public-private-partnerships, focuses on the inter-relational nature of mental ill health-homelessness- and poverty, and the need for convergence, the time is ripe for key players within the mental health and social sector to build capacities, and collectively focus on scaling innovations for lasting and more meaningful impact. Towards achieving this goal, The Banyan and BALM will collaborate with Governments, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and User-Caregiver groups to initiate, test, and scale up mental health and social care services for homeless and poor persons in remote, under-serviced, and poorly resourced regions.


The Latest Events

01 Dec, 2016 to 31 Dec, 2016
SOLVE Workshop

It is designed by International Labour Organisation (ILO) to promote and protect employees’ health against an array of psychosocial problems emanating from work and the outside milieu combining economic and social...

01 Jan, 2017 to 31 Jan, 2017
CBT and REBT Workshop

CBT and REBT Workshop (Jan. 2017), Trainer: Mr. Veerapandian

01 Feb, 2017 to 31 Mar, 2017
Vocational Skills Certificate Course

Ms. Pallavi Naidu, Dr. Lakshmi R. and Mr. Ramesh are coordinating this with TISS for residents, clients and care givers.