Atmiyata’s preparation to scale up as a sustainable model

Atmiyata is a mental health program that has been running since 2013 in 41 villages of the rural state of Maharashtra, India.


Atmiyata is a mental health program that has been running since 2013 in 41 villages of the rural state of Maharashtra, India. The term Atmiyata means ‘shared compassion’ in Marathi language1. Honouring this name, the program trains community volunteers to support people with common mental disorders (CMDs) such as anxiety and depression. Atmiyata champions are volunteers who provide basic support and refer community members to other mental health services when needed. Atmiyata mitras- or friends- are volunteers who identify people with distress and refer them to Atmiyata champions2.

With the aim of scaling up their program as a sustainable model citiesRISE, an organisation with broad experience in supporting mental health at different scales has been supporting Atmiyata. Since then, Steve Fisher of Community Works (CW) has been working collaboratively through citiesRISE in their support to Atmiyata. The work has followed three main areas: Sustainability, Capacity and Operations. These topics have been constantly discussed by email and phone with Atmiyata and Steve visited Atmiyata’s team in May and June of 2017 to progress the work in stages agreed with the Atmiyata team.

During this last visit, Steve and Atimayta´s team worked together during several workshop sessions to define Atmiyata’s priorities, strengthen their skills and capacities for scaling up and produce the documentation needed for this process. Some of the documents include organisational messages, project concept papers, and a first version of the Atmiyata box or manual. The products resulting from these workshops will be soon finalised and ready to be used by Atmiyata as the necessary tools for a scaling up pathway.

The facilitation of this process has significantly contributed to a rigorous preparation of Atmiyata’s team in order to expand the impact of their community-based model and provide support to larger numbers of people. Ultimately, the plan is that the Atmiyata model of support will be available across the state of Gujurat, a population of 32 million people.

Shields-Zeeman, L., Pathare, S., Hipple Walters, B., Kapadia-Kundu, N., and Joag, K. (2017) Promoting wellbeing and improving access to mental health care through community champions in rural India: the Atmiyata intervention approach. International Journal of Mental Health Systems. 11:6.

  • Shields-Zeeman et al. (2017).
  • Shields-Zeeman et al. (2017).