MeHelp – Mental health Literacy in urban and rural communities in India

An interdisciplinary approach using applied theatre methodology

2018 – 2021

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
GCRF New Social and Cultural Insights into Mental, Neurological, and Substance Use Disorders in Developing Countries Programme

Value: £679,449

De Montfort University (lead)
Middlesex University
Kings College London
Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai)
National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Bangalore)
Mental Health Action Trust (Calicut)
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (Cochin)


MeHelp is a 30-month project that seeks to address the issue of mental health literacy in Kerala, Southern India. The state of Kerala in India has higher prevalence of mental ill-health (14.4%), suicide (12.5%) and alcohol abuse than the rest of India.

The project extends partnerships and develops new collaborations between UK academics and researchers, mental health users, their families, research centres and community mental health NGOs in India.

It explores the opportunities presented by theatre and storytelling practice for developing mental health literacy and resilience at personal and community level by supporting a shift away from deficit-based models to more a positive and ability-centred approach to mental health and exploring culturally appropriate mental health literacy for families and communities in urban and rural areas.