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The name of the innovation is the School Initiative for Mental Health Advocacy (SIMHA).

place India + 1 more

The tagline for our innovation is “Schools as Communities of Care.”

In a future where schools are havens for mental health, SIMHA, led by Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, is a first-of-its-kind initiative in India. By training stakeholders and aligning with WHO's whole-school approach, we bridge the gap in mental health support for India's youth. Our framework transforms schools into communities of support and growth and hubs of resilience.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

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Target group
April 2024
SIMHA aims to establish sustainable mental health education systems in India, promoting integrity, collaboration, and equity. It partners with educational institutions and government bodies to prioritize student well-being and foster resilience. By creating supportive environments, it addresses adolescent mental health needs. SIMHA seeks to shift the focus from intervention to prevention.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Research shows a growing adolescent population with less focus on school mental health. Indian studies reveal rising concerns hindered by cultural mismatches and a lack of comprehensive solutions. Schools lack programs and trained professionals and rely on Western data. SIMHA works to address adolescent mental health in a contextually relevant manner, which is crucial for a better future.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Our innovation, School Initiative for Mental Health Advocacy (SIMHA), comprises three core components: Advocacy, Research, and Capacity-building.

Advocacy involves collaborating with school stakeholders, governments, and organizations to promote student well-being. SIMHA has established partnerships with over ten state governments and engaged with private organizations for mental health training. Our Well-being Ambassadors Program (WAP) promotes mental health awareness on university campuses through student ambassadors.

Research focuses on developing culturally relevant frameworks and tools for school mental health. SIMHA has created India's first School Mental Health Review Tool (SMHRT) and Digital Mental Health Resources for various school stakeholders.

Capacity-building aims to empower school stakeholders to create safe environments and support students' mental health. SIMHA offers specialized training manuals and conducts on-site and online training sessions across India.

How has it been spreading?

SIMHA launched the School Mental Health Review Tool (SMHRT) in December 2023. Three manuals for school stakeholders were published. Through partnerships and training, 20,000 stakeholders were reached. A Helpline for mental health guidance was established and shared through training sites and networks.
Future Goals:
SIMHA plans to deepen collaborations with National and State governments, expand training outreach, and broaden program scope. It aims to integrate the School Mental Health Review Tool (SMHRT) nationwide with the Ministry of Education and conduct a Pan-India Pilot. Additionally, SIMHA will develop the School Counsellor’s Network, engage with global mental health pioneers, and publish reports to raise awareness.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

If an individual wants to access and engage with our solution, they can email us at expressing their interest. They can specify the type of collaboration they are looking towards and briefly describe the background of the organisation they work for. Based on their email, our Director/Manager will get back to them to discuss the next steps.

Implementation steps

SIMHA secures leadership endorsement by contacting Central and State government bodies or school leaders, advocating for mental health initiatives. Formal partnerships are solidified via a Letter of Collaboration, aligning goals. SIMHA then collaborates with governments to advocate for mental health policies. Additionally, it runs the Well-being Ambassadors Programme in colleges, empowering youth to lead mental health initiatives. This advocacy kickstarts further actions.
SIMHA conducts detailed assessments, like the school mental health review tool, to identify gaps in mental health frameworks. This research ensures tailored initiatives for schools. Publicly available research manuals exist to support our training programs. SIMHA advocates for children's mental health in academia, fostering caring school communities.
SIMHA offers diverse training for stakeholders, including government partners, school leaders, teachers, parents, and students. These cover mental health awareness and specialized support skills. Accompanied by resources like handbooks and helplines, programs are flexible to fit the unique needs of the school. Collaboratively, SIMHA bridges gaps, fostering comprehensive mental health environments.

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