Philosophy & Practice

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 social justice and development.

  • BALM derives its philosophy from its parent organisation, The Banyan. It emerges from deep grassroots inquiry into mental health, poverty, scarcity, inequity, vulnerability and marginalization, made possible through The Banyan’ services.
  • BALM believes in improving access to mental health facilities by spreading awareness and generating practical solutions to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice.
  • BALM believes in developing scalable and replicable solutions, creating impact through social innovations and continuously learning through lived experience.
  • BALM focuses on building skilled human resources, impacting service provision and evolving effective policy directions.

Areas of Focus

Given the nuanced and fluid nature of mental health, the human mind, human behaviour and society, a fine balance between addressing individual needs and standardisation of services has to be developed. Instead of blindly scaling up successful models of care, BALM leverages The Banyan’s experience and expertise to scale up approaches that create lasting impact and social integration. To achieve this BALM works in the following areas:

1. Research

From understanding the life experience of vulnerable and marginalised communities, to tackling complex social problems and addressing macro-level systems and policy issues, the research conducted at BALM follows its parent organization, The Banyan’s, unique holistic approach to create authentic impact. BALM undertakes systematic documentation and dissemination of building robust knowledge, both qualitative and quantitative, in the mental health and development sectors; and by creating a repository of BALM/Banyan initiated practices/services that have created a strong impact.

2. Developing passionate leaders

BALM trains students in mental health and development practices to equip them with leadership capabilities so that they can catalyse social inclusion. The training helps diffuse core values in Care by building a cadre of mental health professionals immersed in the principles of social justice, equity, and participation.

3. Initiating and scaling up approaches to Care

BALM works towards Influencing multiple stakeholders - government, not-for-profit, civil society, and user-caregiver groups - to actively propagate expansion of mental health services across the country. It actively collaborates with Governments, civil society organisations and academic institutions to initiate and scale up mental health and social care services, based on principles of equity, justice, participation and the promotion of rights and personal recovery.

4. Build awareness and enthuse public demand and social action

BALM initiates, stimulates and nurtures social movements and community vigil systems to create favourable mindsets among civil society