Parivarthan is being the change it wishes to see in the world

We spoke to Parivarthan’s Executive Director, Ms Malini Sridhar, about how the organization is dedicated to promoting positive changes in an individual through counselling, training and research.

At Counselling in India: Identity and Transformation A Practitioner's Conference, Ice breaker session for Delegates

At Counselling in India: Identity and Transformation
A Practitioner’s Conference, Ice breaker session for Delegates

Twenty years ago, Saroj and Carlos Welch started Parivarthan when they realized the dearth of trained counsellors in our country. They have been working since then to bridge the gap between people seeking counselling and trained professionals.

“Our goal is to help people understand that the mind and body are one system and mental health issues are not a result of “mental” weakness or lack of willpower. Just as they would meet with a Doctor in case of a physical symptom/injury and take the medication/treatment that was prescribed, it is equally important that they would reach out for help in case they are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, depressed or even suicidal.”

As per statistics, there are only 3,500 psychiatrists in India. When we questioned the paucity of trained mental health professionals, Parivarthan points out that while there are too few psychiatrists for the population, there has been an encouraging rise in the numbers in the last decade and that psychiatry in itself is just one branch of mental health, other issues need other kinds of professionals like clinical psychologists or counsellors.

The vocabulary around mental is often stigmatizing and it’s difficult to access information on what comprises a mental health problem. People are concerned about being judged and whether privacy and confidentiality will be maintained.”

Mental health in our country is broadly facing two problems- first, the stigma attached to any mental health issue and second, the access to good quality help or resources. Stigma is deep rooted and the biggest reason why most people do not reach out. Parivarthan tackles these by involving in efforts that clarify issues on mental health and by providing training in-house and in other cities.

Parivarthan addresses the community at large to spread awareness about mental health and the services that they provide. Their trainees are encouraged to work in various contexts and multiple languages. They also run a telephonic counselling helpline for people who wish to reach out to a counsellor.

The telephonic counselling helpline was a facility that Parivarthan introduced after a young girl came to them expressing how she could not get out of the house to seek help due to family pressure. This incident prompted the introduction of the helpline for people so they can reach out to someone at any time, without the constraints of physical space and distance. They want to be able to help anyone who contacts them, thus leading to collaborations with professionals from various background, like psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, de-addiction centres, shelters for children and women, lawyers, mediators, special educators, etc.

A non-funded, not-for-profit Centre, Parivarthan offers Life Skills Training Programmes based on Self Awareness Exercises that enables the participants to be able to recognise thoughts/behaviours/patterns that are not good for them in their daily lives and shift focus onto relevant life skills that can help one combat the same.

 Panel Discussion - Ethics and Guidelines for Good Practice - L to R: Aparna Joshi (TISS), Sangeeta Rege (CEHAT), Dr. Kiran Rao (Mental Health Consultant), Dr. Elspeth Schwenk (BACP- UK), Dr. Poornima Bhola (NIMHANS)

Panel Discussion – Ethics and Guidelines for Good Practice – L to R: Aparna Joshi (TISS), Sangeeta Rege (CEHAT), Dr. Kiran Rao (Mental Health Consultant), Dr. Elspeth Schwenk (BACP- UK), Dr. Poornima Bhola (NIMHANS)


lll-logoSpeakYourMind is a special series on mental health by The Alternative in partnership with  The Live Love Laugh Foundation. Starting Mental Health Day, Oct 10th, the series will feature voices and expert views on issues like depression and anxiety disorders and how sensitivity and timely support can help people overcome them. If you have a personal story around mental health to share, please write in to, and we will publish it in the strictest confidence.



  Top Stories on TA

  Top Stories in SOCIETY

   Get stories like this in your inbox


Discuss this article on Facebook