The BALM SFL Centre for Research is dedicated to Research in Mental Health issues and solutions in a low income setting. The Centre has been graciously funded by the Sundram Fasteners Pvt. Ltd, of the TVS group of companies. This follows the Indian Government’s Mental Health Policy of encouraging public private partnerships to promote growth and wellbeing as well as poverty reduction.

The BALM SFL Centre is focused on unpacking the unique sociocultural experience and ecology of marginalisation, exploring complex associations between homelessness, poverty and mental health and establishing effectiveness and mechanisms of diverse user centered initiatives in mental health. It aims to understand, apply and test new ways to address issues in the (mental) health and development sector. BALM’s research and The Banyan’s services are inextricably linked – both follow a trans-disciplinary approach and engage with users through participatory development practice on the field to innovate service models that are capable of handling critical challenges in the sector.

The research programme seeks to create a dynamic environment for discussion, debate and knowledge creation in mental health and the social sciences. It is engaged in joint research, faculty and student exchange programmes, and replication and scaling of mental health services. It hosts modules and programmes on key topics including but not limited to the mental ill-health - poverty - homelessness nexus; distress, deprivation and the promotion of recovery; understanding developing economies; comparative health systems analysis; and qualitative research methodology. All the research conducted operates with the principle aim of generating knowledge that can inform practice and improve quality. Thus the research portfolio engages in cutting edge research in mental health and allied social sciences with the aim of offering a nuanced and multidimensional understanding of complex problems, and better informing practitioners, policy makers and the general public on critical issues plaguing society today.

The objectives of the Centre are:

  • Building practice based evidence and contributing to a robust knowledge base
  • Stakeholder engagement and advocacy – diffusion of locally relevant approaches
  • Human resource development – Spurring change agents

The Centre will publish Research Papers and white papers and systematically document successful engagements with persons with mental illness, poverty and homelessness. It will engage in Policy formulation and implementation at the state and national government levels. It will conduct workshops and seminars to disseminate research findings and support practical implementations.