BALM Faculty

Social Work

Ms. Madhuri Menon

Ms. Madhuri Menon is the Dean of BALM. She completed her Masters in Social Work (MSW) from TISS in 1973 and subsequently her PG Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning. Since then she has worked in various corporates such as Indian Oil Corp, in Bharat Petroleum Corporation, Sky-cell communication (current: Airtel), Birla ATNT, Pune, IFMR Trust.

Mrs. Menon was a board member at BALM and Banyan, for 20 years; and continues to serve on the board of various other NGOs dealing with women, children and education. She has been a visiting faculty at various universities. Her primary research areas include gender and urbanization.

Mr. K. S. Ramesh
Assistant Professor

Mr. K.S. Ramesh has several years of experience in clinical research, health project management, entrepreneurship, consulting, counselling and training. His interests lie in the areas of Social Group Work, Healthcare Management and Entrepreneurship, Community Health, and Ethical standards of Social Work practice. He also supervises students in their research assignments and his main research interests include language policies and development, skill development practices and training needs and outcomes.

Josephine Anthony
Dr. Josephine Anthony
Assistant Professor

Dr. Josephine Anthony is Assistant Professor on deputation from TISS. She has been faculty at the Centre for Equity and Justice for Children and Families, School of Social Work, TISS, Mumbai for many years. She has led UN-sponsored projects, on vulnerable and marginalised children. Currently, she is leading projects sponsored by DST, Government of India on Wastewater Management with a focus on Community Participation and on 'Migration and Education', by Sandvik Asia Pvt Ltd, Pune. Before joining TISS, Dr. Josephine has worked in different capacities including a stint as a research consultant, faculty at the Department of Social Work, Stella Maris College, University of Madras, and autism therapist in USA. She has published articles in reputed international and national journals and chapters in edited volumes.

She is interested in researching on Vulnerable Children, Researching with Children and Technology and Society. Her Ph. D. is in the area of 'Digital Divide and Equity in Education' from IIT, Madras.

N. Anandan
Coordinator – Diploma Programme

Anandan has a post graduate degree in Social Work from the Madras School of Social Work. As the Project Officer in the Indian Council for Child Welfare in Tamil Nadu, he has managed a variety of projects on HIV/AIDS prevention, Child Rights and Education, domestic violence, Health Education for adults and others. He is the Coordinator for the Diploma programme in Community Mental Health Care and is in charge of implementing it.

Applied Psychology

Dr. Lakshmi Sankaran
Dr. Lakshmi Sankaran
Head of the Department

Dr. Lakshmi Sankaran is a mental health educator and practitioner with M.Phil. and PhD degrees from NIMHANS, Bangalore. She started her counselling practice with families having mental health related issues and HIV/AIDS (VHS, Chennai) including addictions (TTK Hospital) in 1990. She is a life coach and trainer in employee assistance programs (EAP) and offers counselling services at Tharu Clinic, in Chennai. She was also a faculty member teaching Counselling Psychology at Christ University, Bangalore.

She regularly writes articles for The New Indian Express and The Hindu on topics such as well-being, life skills for the youth, emotional adjustments etc. She is also a trained as a yoga teacher.

Dr. K. V. Kishore Kumar
Director – BALM &The Banyan

Dr. K.V. Kishore Kumar has several decades of clinical practice. He was a Senior Psychiatrist at NIMHANS in Bangalore, India, for 25 years. He also headed the Community Health services in the Department of Psychiatry at NIMHANS. He has been an Advisor to the Government of India, WHO (Somalia) in developing a Policies and providing community mental health services.

He is actively involved in clinical practice and community care. His areas of interest include community mental health services; training doctors, Psychosocial issues of disasters; Psychosocial rehabilitation of the mentally ill in rural areas using local resources; economics of mental health; Epidemiology of mental disorders and others. He has published research papers extensively in national and international journals.

Lakshmi Ravikanth
Dr. Lakshmi Ravikanth
Deputy Dean

Dr. Lakshmi Ravikanth is a PhD in applied educational psychology. She has a master's diploma in psychological counselling from CCC-Vellore. She is also a master's in Education and literature. She has taught Applied psychology for 5 yrs in Osmania University, Hyderabad. She is a corporate trainer and works on soft skills for corporate entities.

She has had a counselling practice in Chennai for more than two decades, and has been associated with The Banyan since its inception. She has pioneered online counselling facilitation called 'Seek Spark' that enables video and tele counselling. She contributes articles on mental wellbeing to national dailies. Recently she has become one of the key editors of 'Indian Journal of Psychological Counselling'.

Mr. K. Veerapandian
Assistant Professor

Mr. Veerapandian is an Assistant Professor at BALM. He has also worked at the Madras School of Social Work as Assistant Professor of Psychology at the Department of Counselling Psychology and has worked as a lecturer for many years.

Mr. Veerapandian completed M.Phil. in Professional Psychology from University of Madras. He also has worked as Research Associate in the field of health, particularly in the field of HIV/AIDS, during which time he developed interest in qualitative research methodology and has been a faculty for various programmes conducted by other institutions in mental health. He was instrumental in the development of Follow – Up Counselling Toolkit Training Modules (FUC TOOLKIT/Now, renamed as Positive Prevention Tool Kit - PPTK) for Counsellors working in the field of HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Archana Padmakar
Clinical Psychologist - Transit Care Centre, The Banyan

Dr. Archana Padmakar, is a PhD in Clinical Psychology from VU University, is the Assistant Director of the Transit Care Centre of The Banyan. She previously worked in CMC, Vellore and Antennae Ecoute, Luxembourg. Her professional experience is in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Neuropsychology, Diagnostic Psychometry Behaviour Therapy and disorder-specific intervention. She has worked with persons suffering from acute to chronic problems in mental health and has provided therapy and rehabilitation services to adults and children.

Archana was also actively involved in teaching programmes for post graduate students in the Diploma in Psychological Medicine, Masters in Nursing, Bachelors in Occupational Therapy and Ophthalmology while working as a consultant in Christian Medical College & Hospital, Vellore. Her primary interests are psychological interventions, neuropsychology & intense clinical work. 

Dr. Smriti Vallath
Clinical Psychologist, The Banyan

Dr. Smriti Vallath, Head, Research, Sundaram Fasteners Ltd, Center for Social Action Research- (SFL-CSAR), Faculty, Department of Applied Psychology, BALM and Clinical Psychologist, The Banyan has been working in the field of mental health for 9 years and at The Banyan-BALM for 7 years. 

Dr. Vallath's research often include exploring the interplay of trauma in severe mental illnesses, especially psychosis. Her research work is published in multiple peer reviewed journals and her primary research interests include trauma and its impact on severe mental illnesses; specifically to develop evidence based policy guidelines for treatment of trauma in psychosis. In her research endeavours, she explores the various facets of trauma, including socio cultural perceptions of trauma, intergenerational trauma, post traumatic stress disorder, psychological underpinnings of the interplay of trauma in severe mental illnesses; to conceptualize the notion of various disorders. She is currently also the PI in a few research projects exploring well-being among persons marginalised. She has also been engaged closely in research collaborations with IFMR-Lead, Boston University School of Medicine and University of Edinburgh. 

Dr. Vallath is trained in Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and is currently training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy. She offers clinical services at The Banyan using an eclectic approach to psychotherapy, focusing on illness management and building distress resilience among persons with severe mental illnesses. She also led The Banyan's Clustered Group Homes (CGH), a 50 bedded inclusive living facility for homeless women with severe mental illnesses and experiencing long term care needs, during the period 2015-2019 and the aftercare program- Kerala Chapter, The Banyan during the period 2018-2019. 

Aside from research, Dr Vallath is also involved in administrative and fund raising activities at The Banyan/BALM. Her association with the department of applied psychology and department of social work in mental health, BALM, includes teaching masters level students.  Her teaching modalities often link the learnings from her clinical practice to include case studies and she aims at bridging the gap between theory and practice; by focusing on discussions surrounding the nuances in presentation of illnesses and challenges in treatment approaches. She challenges western models of treatment and elucidates on the necessity for cultural adaptation of the same. 

Dr. Vallath is keen to develop policy initiatives that aid in the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of trauma, trauma related disorders and psychosis. She is also engaged in advocacy related work to facilitate disability allowances for persons with severe mental illnesses.