BALM Departments

Department of Social Work:

With the pace of rapid social change and urbanisation, there are several vulnerable groups whose mental health concerns need urgent attention. Some examples include, urban poor living on the streets and slums, women and children exposed to domestic violence, populations displaced by mega development projects, single women, sexual minorities, people living with HIV/AIDS, and so on. In order to be able to comprehend the mental health concerns of these groups, it is vital to move beyond our thinking in the mental health sector and conceptualise training programmes as well as service models that integrate the biological, psychological and interpersonal with the social and the cultural. Thus, a training/teaching programme that combines ideas of social justice and empowerment along with the knowledge and skill to understand individual and interpersonal distress and problems is a need of the hour.

This postgraduate programme with a foundation in social work and training in perspectives and skills in mental health aims to fill this gap.

M.A. Social Work in Mental Health:

The M.A. Social Work in Mental Health is an intense two year graduate progamme with 79 credits spread over four semesters. The course content includes foundation courses in social sciences , core papers in methods of social work, mental health, research and thematic papers.

The programme is highly customisable to suit interests and contexts and students can also opt for the Research, Management and Entrepreneurship specialisation in year 2 of the programme.

Unique course offerings include:

  1. Creating an understanding of the scope of social work practice in mental health through a development and human rights lens.
  2. Becoming responsive to the vast need for comprehensive, ethical mental health services in rural and urban India, with a special focus on marginalized and vulnerable groups.
  3. Developing skills in comprehensive and inclusive mental health service delivery.
  4. Developing skills in policy planning, program management, advocacy, activism and research in the mental health sector.
  5. Developing abilities to work in inter-disciplinary teams and contexts.


Department of Psychology

- M.A. Applied Psychology (Counselling)
- M.A. Applied Psychology (Clinical)

Unique course offerings include:

  1. An intimate understanding of the social context and ecology of mental health issues and their interplay with the biological and psychological paradigm.
  2. Access to varied and dynamic practice sites including inpatient and outpatient settings, with opportunities to work with clients who present with varied psychological difficulties, from multiple social contexts. Students will have a supervised case load.
  3. Training and supervision in the diagnosis, assessment and cognitive-behavioural treatment of mental health issues.
  4. Mentoring opportunities from senior professionals in the field, in a multi-disciplinary team.

Diploma in community mental health

Globally, among other factors, the severe human resource crunch in the mental health and social sectors require constant innovation to ensure effective and quality care. Non-specialist health workers otherwise known as lay health workers or community workers are increasingly becoming the most invaluable resource especially with regard to mental health services. Studies show that lay health workers trained in collaborative, integrated mental health care can actually reduce the prevalence of common mental disorders, suicidal behaviour, psychological morbidity and disability burden. The Banyan’s health care workers and community workers are undeniably the backbone of the organisation, and account for 60% of the staff strength. They are from local communities, and are trained to identify mental health issues within communities, ease referral pathways, facilitate socio-economic entitlements and most importantly engage with clients to help them navigate the challenges of managing their illness and achieve their own subjective notions of wellness. This model enables livelihoods and aids in poverty reduction by creating jobs that build skills, add value to individuals and are well respected in the community.

Thus BALM in collaboration with the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute for Youth Development (RGNIYD) offers a diploma programme for lay-health workers on community mental health. This programme will soon be offered across the country, at multiple partner sites as well, including Ranchi, Kotagiri, and Chhattisgarh.

Quote from student, “I have become a fearless public speaker now, and have done things I did not believe I was capable of.. I stopped child marriage using child line, and rescued a person from the street with mental health issues, and then helped reintegrate them, and I also now work with the panchayat authorities. People look at me differently, and I now have more support from my family as well”.