Seher UCMH&I program

Slogan March Day in Yerawada
Slogan March Day in Yerawada

Seher, Urban Community Mental Health and Inclusion Program (2004- )

Seher, (meaning ‘Dawn’ in Urdu), envisions sustainable psychosocial health and disability inclusion through community development. We aim to reach the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ population through providing comprehensive psychosocial services, thus providing a service delivery model for bridging a huge gap in Disability Inclusive Development. The Seher program is built upon principles of social entrepreneurship, i.e. multiplying resources for care and support through capacity building and community participation, and where needed, direct psychosocial services, to enable the full inclusion and participation of people with mental health issues and psychosocial disabilities.

Giving life to Article 19 (CRPD): The touchstone of the Bapu Trust since the advent of the CRPD in 2007, is ‘transforming communities for inclusion’ of persons with mental health problems and psychosocial disabilities. Towards this end, since 2009, the Bapu Trust has invested in developing a sustainable service delivery, inspired by the CRPD, and inspired by the vision of Article 19.

Strategizing for social Innovations: The program started with modest modules on awareness through corner meetings, peer and support counselling, as a way of implementing inclusion. Then, individual counselling and family counselling modules were introduced. Evaluations were done on program and client impact by an independent team. Following better understanding of community social networks, a satellite program (‘Therapeutic Groups’) was started, and also studied intensively over several cycles. Following external evaluation, the TG strategy is now mainstreamed into the overall Seher program. In the process of these modular and studied innovations, Arts Based Therapies, awareness services, and strategies for addressing community inclusion were also integrated as cross cutting strategies. With support of student interns, the program has been studied in most of its key elements. At the moment, several components of our studies have been incorporated into a ‘8 Point Recovery Framework’. The integrated framework is due for evaluation in the year 2018.

Highlighting Outcomes:

1. A tested and evaluated modular program on Community mental health and inclusion services, using the ‘8 Point Recovery Framework’.
2. Reached out to upto 2000 persons with mental health and psychosocial disabilities in low income communities (bastis) of Pune city. Upto 400 people with ‘high risk’ for mental distress and disturbances provided peer support group services.
3. Based on the belief that inclusion is about everybody, over 200000 population covered with a diversity of services serving community information needs over a 5 year period.
4. Developed many tools and protocols for psychosocial interventions,
5. Design is geared for ownership by communities.
6. Strong partnership with the local authority (Municipal Corporation of Pune.)


The program is now transitioning for upscaling to 5 centers of Pune, in collaboration with local authority (Pune Municipal Corporation). Each center requires upto 9000 USD per year, totalling 36000 USD per year. A small budget is released from government per center, this year. The government pays for space, infrastructure, medical and social services where needed. A number of local NGOs, CBOs, philanthropists, student interns and volunteers share our costs further.


Kavita Pillai, Project Leader (Seher)

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