MPower is a movement that envisions all individuals with mental illnesses to live a happy and empowered life by creating awareness and by building world class mental health care services through a rich network of personalities and professionals with high credibility. The leaders behind this initiative are the dynamic, Mrs. Neerja Birla and Ms. Ananya Birla and working with them on this project is Dr Zirak Marker, a leading child psychiatrist.
To kickstart this movement, MPower launched its official website (www.mpowerminds.com) and video campaign #StampOutStigma!
#StampOutStigma – Join the Mpower Movement!
The website aims to be a platform where one can voice opinions and share one’s experiences with mental and emotional upheaval. It is also meant to be for people who want to understand more about the realms of mental health. It will provide the right platform for interactive discussions leading to awareness towards a stigma free society. The ‘Make a Pledge’ feature of the website will enable people across different verticals to pledge against mental disabilities. Keeping the same vision in mind, new features will be launched on a regular basis.
The film is meant to be hard hitting, yet realistic account of how individuals with mental illnesses feel and their need to be heard and understood. The purpose is for it to start conversations around this topic- to create awareness and take the first steps to Stamp Out Stigma.
The saddening statistics make the movement so much more relevant. In today’s time, mental health is an area of immense concern in the world, with India having one of the highest suicide rates. India spends a mere 0.06% of the annual health budget on mental health and mental health care. There are only 5000 qualified mental health practitioners for a population of 1.2 billion. WHO estimates that at any given time 10% of global population suffers from mental illnesses and one in four persons will be affected at least once in their lifetime.
All of this being part of a much larger plan, the Mpower team is also opening a centre in South Mumbai soon. A holistic centre that would cater to the mental health needs of children and adolescents. Another endeavour will be the Mpower Foundation which will strive to blur barriers of economics and opportunities, making mental health care services accessible and available to members of marginalised groups.
Emphasising the purpose, Neerja Birla says, “My resolve and endeavour is to create a movement towards empowering individuals with mental health concerns in the most holistic way possible. We need to ensure that all such individuals and their families, have the right to professional therapeutic interventions. Everyone has the right to a dignified and fulfilling life.
Ananya Birla concludes, “In India, there is a huge stigma attached to one having a mental illness; this not only makes it worse for the sufferer but also for their caregivers. It is as imperative to take care of our minds as is our bodies and hence seeking help for mental illness is of paramount importance. If there was no stigma, people would reach out for help without hesitation and lives could have been saved. I think it is the need of the hour that we as the youth, address this social cause.”