Promoting Wellbeing, reducing Distress and Improving access to mental health care through self-help groups in Gujarat

The project Atmiyata Gujarat promotes wellbeing, reduces distress and improves access to mental health care through self-help groups and farmer’s clubs in rural Gujarat.


At the end of 2016, the Indian Law Society (PI: Dr Kaustub Joag, with Trimbos Institute collaborating) was awarded a transition-to-scale grant to further implement the Atmiyata intervention implemented in Maharashtra, India from 2013-2015 in the state of Gujarat. The Atmiyata intervention involves a two-tier community led mental health model that develops capacity of community volunteers (locally referred to as Atmiyata Champions & Mitras) to identify and provide primary support and counselling to persons with common mental disorders, and make referrals to public health system for severe mental disorders. In addition, to reduce the poverty burden, community volunteers help to improve access to social benefits for people with mental health issues. The intervention employs technological approaches to promote capacity development and raise community awareness of mental health with the help of films.

Role of Trimbos

Trimbos has contributed to the development of the training and supervision manuals and materials for Atmiyata champions and mitras in the pilot phase in Maharashtra as well as in the current Atmiyata project. Trimbos has also contributed to the development of research methods materials for the project team. Trimbos also plays a role in the evaluation of the intervention, including in the protocol for the trial design, as well as process evaluation.

More information

  • Publications: Shields-Zeeman, L., Pathare, S., Hipple Walters, B., Kapadia-Kundu, N., & Joag, K. (2016). Promoting wellbeing and improving access to mental health care through community champions in rural India: The Atmiyata intervention approach. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 11(1), 6.
  • Project duration: 2016 - 2019
  • Experts involved in the project: Indian Law Society (ILS)
  • Funding from: Grand Challenges Canada, Mariwala Health Initiative