Advocating for Mental Health: A Path to Equality and Well-being

Mental Health Awareness Week is a crucial moment to reflect on the significance of mental well-being in our lives. Equal Community Foundation has been driving an important initiative to recognize mental health as a fundamental human right. Our Gender Transformative Programme is dedicated to nurturing critical thinking perspectives and promoting safe spaces for open dialogue on mental health. Our team is adept at creating environments where participants feel not just comfortable, but empowered to share, embrace vulnerability, and express themselves freely, free from judgement or prejudice. Through our Human Rights module, we highlight the fundamental right of expression and the importance of sharing opinions without fear among adolescents. Similarly, our team prioritises creating a safe space where we can support each other and grow collectively. A safe workplace is essential for working effectively and promoting an environment free from judgement. By supporting and encouraging one another, we take effort to cultivate a healthy organisational atmosphere.

In a world where stigma and discrimination still surround mental health issues, it is imperative to create  environments where individuals feel safe seeking help and support. Mental health should not be a privilege afforded only to a select few but rather a right extended to every human being, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Gender equality is a cornerstone of this movement towards mental well-being. Equal Community Foundation emphasises the integral connection between gender equality and mental health, recognizing that societal expectations and norms often place undue pressure on individuals based on their gender. There is so much stigma attached by asking for help and developing the decisiveness side to go for a therapist. By challenging these norms and creating a supportive environment for all genders, we can aim for improved mental health outcomes.

“To heal, we must accept things. Mental health involves our emotions, thoughts, and how we get along with others. It affects how we feel now and in the future. If we keep everything inside, we can develop challenges like depression and stress. Doing things that make us happy can help, but if we can not handle stress on our own, it is best to talk to a psychologist for help.”

-Vidisha Gaikwad, Antarang Alumni

The intersectionality of mental health and gender equality reinforce the need for inclusive approaches to mental health advocacy. Women, men, non-binary individuals, and people of all gender identities face unique challenges that can impact their mental well-being. 

“How men often feel stressed in society, dealing with different mental and emotional pressures without sharing them. I feel it’s important to accept these feelings and that it’s okay to ask for help and support. Men should feel comfortable being open about their vulnerabilities and seeking help, regardless of gender norms and stereotypes.”

-Pravin Katke, Programme Manager

Pravin highlights the pressures men face in society:the expectation to handle emotions independently. He reminds us that accepting and sharing emotions is crucial. There is no shame in seeking support. By acknowledging and addressing these disparities, we can work towards a more equitable society where everyone has access to the resources and support all genders need to thrive.

“Oftentimes, it’s the peace of mind we crave for a truly happy and healthy life. Just as we strongly build our physical strength, let us not forget the importance of nurturing our mental resilience. A sound mind is the cornerstone of true well-being.” 

– Anil Jadhav, Programme Mentor

At the key of this movement is the recognition that mental health is not a solitary journey but a collective responsibility. By coming together as a community, we can break down barriers, challenge stigma, and create a culture of acceptance and support. This Mental Health Awareness Week, let’s pledge to prioritise mental well-being, advocate for equal access to mental health services, and enable environments where everyone feels valued and supported.

“I believe it’s crucial to acknowledge that mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s okay to not be okay sometimes, and it is essential to accept our feelings and emotions without judgment.I feel strongly about breaking the stigma surrounding mental health.It’s vital to create an environment where people feel safe and supported to talk about their mental health struggles without fear of judgement or discrimination.

I’ve come to understand that everyone’s mental health journey is unique. It’s important to approach others with empathy, kindness, and understanding, knowing that we all face different challenges and cope in different ways.

Lastly, I’ve learned the importance of taking life one day at a time. Some days will be harder than others, but with patience, self-compassion, and resilience, I believe we can overcome any obstacle that comes our way.”

– Kshitij Bhosale, Youth Advocate 


Join us in amplifying the message that mental health is a human right. By engaging in meaningful conversations, we are not only driving towards SDGs goals but also promoting a culture of understanding and support for all genders. 

Let’s advocate for a world where every individual has the opportunity to lead a fulfilling and mentally healthy life. 




Urasmita Ghosh, Communications and Fundraising Associate, Equal Community Foundation