Historically neglected and marginalised within public health, the mental health policy in India has suffered setbacks due to the stigma surrounding it. However, there is a growing prevalence of mental health issues in India impacting a large section of young people as well as adults. Fear of ostracism which prevents early detection and cure, is especially heightened for some vulnerable sections of the population which already operate within a framework of intersecting structural subordination, for instance young women from marginalised sections of society. Sama’s ongoing engagement with young people and its report “Dataspeak: Early Marriage and Health” has indicated lack of data and analysis on mental health of young women, including those in situations of early marriage.
Sama’s current initiative aims to build an understanding which departs from a medicalised approach of ‘mental illness’ and explores young women’s perceptions of mental well-being and coping mechanisms through their narratives.