Mental Health in India is not widely accessible itself. The ratio of people to psychologist is highly skewed. According to a report that recently appeared in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, we have one psychiatrist available for 4 Lakh people. This shortage of professionals increases the cost of treatment and this situation becomes worse for those in marginalized communities and the minorities. In a society where there is a lack of their representation and also awareness of mental health issues, the individuals from minority communities are often discriminated against and sometimes do not have access to the same facilities as those in a majority community and living in privileged conditions. In these conditions, access to a support group of people who understand their issues and relate to them can be very helpful.
A Support group is made up of people who share a similar identity or a characteristic of an identity with you and hence, have similar needs as well. This article specifically discusses about the minority community- LGBTQ.
The community is built with people who have felt discriminated against and different their entire lives because of their gender identities or sexual preferences. Some of the NGO’s that can act as a support group for the LGBTQ+ community are mentioned below-
• Sangini Trust
Sangini (India) Trust is the oldest LBT counselling and community support service in India based in New Delhi. They provide counselling, and online as well as offline community support services.
• Nazariya: A Queer Feminist Resource Group
Nazariya is a Delhi-based queer feminist resource group working on issues of gender and sexuality, working with a special focus on issues and concerns of Lesbian Bisexual Women and Trans (LBT) people assigned female at birth. They run a helpline from 11 am to 6 pm (Monday to Friday), provide face peer counselling and have a support group for working class LBT people.
• Humsafar Trust
Humsafar Trust is a Mumbai-based non-profit organisation that provides security, counselling, medical care and mental support to the LGBT community. They have set up various sub-organisations, such as ‘Gaurav’ for male sex workers, ‘Kinnar Kasturi’ and ‘Kinnar Asmita’ for transgender, ‘Sanjeevani’ for MSM and transgender with HIV, and ‘Umang’ and ‘Yaariyan’ for LBT and LGBT persons respectively. They recently inaugurated their new centre in New Delhi which is supported by project CONNECT. They will also provide with crisis management and counselling services.
Umang provides a safe space and supporting environment to LBT individuals in their monthly meetings, get-togethers etc. They also provide training in areas such as proposal writing, gender and sexuality, peer-counselling, and crises management. Their helpline runs from Monday to Saturday, 10 am-8 pm.
• Udaan trust
Udaan Trust operating in Maharashtra, focuses on issues of sexual health within the homosexual and transgender communities and provides services such as condom distribution, sex education, counselling, and medical services to at-risk population.
• Sappho for Equality
Sappho for Equality works for the rights of sexually marginalized women and female-to-male transpersons in the eastern regions of India. Their vision is to create a society free of gender-sexuality-based discriminations, where rights of the sexual minorities will be ensured. They provide Psychiatric and Peer Counselling Services and also run a help line that is functional every day from 12 to 8 pm, except on Mondays. The helpline no is +91 9831518320.
We hope this information was helpful for you. Minority mental health is as important as mental health for all communities, however it becomes important to protect minority communities especially because they are marginalized. The existence of such support groups is a great effort towards improving the needs of these communities.