My journey with NICHE Advocacy Foundation so far


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Author: Shagun Singh, Mumbai, INDIA

A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that 7.5 per cent of the Indian population suffers from some form of mental disorder. Mental illnesses constitute one-sixth of all health-related disorders and India accounts for nearly 15% of the global mental, neurological and substance abuse disorder burden as opposed to USA where every 1 in 5 people are suffering from some sort of mental health issue. One reason this could be happening is because of lack of awareness about mental health issues in India.

Therefore when I saw the opportunity to work for an NGO that believes in standing up for emotional fitness and awareness surrounding mental health, I was very intrigued. After I showed my interest in joining NICHE Advocacy Foundation, I was asked to fill a form which was then followed by an interview. Both the processes made it very clear that we’re going to take this cause very seriously. After I got through the interview, we had an induction meeting where all the team members were present along with Dr. Poornima herself.

She took us through the core values of NICHE Advocacy Foundation, and what it stands for. One of the most important lessons that I took from her presentation was something she said about people suffering from mental health issues. From her own experience she shared that after working with several patients suffering from epilepsy she realized that there was a lot of stigma and baggage attached with such conditions. She also realized that the patients weren’t the ones spreading the stigma but it was other people and this is something that stayed with me. It emphasized further on how not just the patients but people in general need to be made more aware about these issues and just how important emotional fitness really is. This is something I look forward to while working on with NICHE Advocacy Foundation.

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