As conversations about mental health are slowly coming into the light, the stigma around discussing mental health is, thankfully, no longer as tight. But the persistent lack of knowledge and information is still a fight.
Many of us may feel we want to talk to a mental health professional, but also feel unsure where to start. Kab, kahan, kaise. Moreover, how to find help which is sensitive to our social identity – to our caste, gender, sexuality?
So we are hazir, with an AOI #MentalHelp guide to get you started.
It has some- HELPLINES to call for relief when in distress or crisis. Some options to help you find FIND A THERAPIST – crowdsourced lists as well as organisations of practising counselors. And some RESOURCES, either organisational or online spaces, to help build your understanding and awareness of mental health care and networks.
There are also some specific COVID HELPLINES for covid-related crises such fear of illness, heightened loneliness, growing uncertainty, unsafe home environment, and well being of caregivers.
Please remember – these are only a starting point, not a comprehensive list. There will be more therapists and organisations and resources and we will keep updating as we learn more.
These are services with free, professional psychological help via telephone accessible across India. The caller can connect to a counsellor directly and talk for as long as they need, while being assured of anonymity and confidentiality. Counsellors may share details of the cases amongst themselves as the same staff may not receive different calls.
The helplines serve people across all ages, gender and sexual orientation. Counselling is free but standard call rates may apply at times.
Also available on email and chat; marginalised and queer focused service.
Contact: 022-25521111 (Monday to Saturday, 8 AM to 10 PM)
Chat Based Counseling: nULTA App`
Facebook: iCALL Psychosocial Helpline
Available 24 x 7
Contact: 1860 2662 345 , +91 730 459 9836 , +91 730 459 9837
Email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Booking appointment with a counsellor:
Contact:+91-84229-84527 between 10 am and 4 pm (Monday to Friday)
Though they primarily provide sexual and reproductive health related care, they provide counseling over chat, including post-abortion related mental health support, for a nominal fee. Contact.: +91 88617 13567
Emergency/ crisis helplines
These are helplines for immediate help with suicide prevention, distress or panic.
For suicide prevention, depression and stress. Any Day 5 pm to 8 pm.
Contact:+91 84229 84528 / +91 84229 84529 / +91 84229 84530
Email ID: email@example.com
NIMHANS – National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences
24X7 psychosocial support and services during disasters.
Toll-free number: 080 – 4611 0007
Available in 16 different Indian languages including Hindi and English.
Toll-free number: +91 8376804102
24×7 Suicide prevention helpline. Languages- English and Hindi. Visit the link for a state-wise directory of helplines in India
Often we may want to seek therapy but feel unsure whom to go to. To learn more about therapy, you can check out our Mental Health FAQs. The information below is a starting point to access actual therapists, if you don’t know whom to ask for suggestions.
These lists collate information about costs, qualification, conduct, area of specialisation, etc of mental health practitioners (MHPs) from different parts of India, to help users make a choice at enquiry level. Some of them are crowdsourced, so do keep that in mind.
Created by iCall (Run by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai)
Created by Nazariya, A Queer-Feminist Resource Group, New Delhi
If you are looking for a queer support group, many in this list also provide some counseling and connect queer people to other resources. The list mentions organisations in different parts of India.
Created by Mahima Kukreja
Groups of mental health practitioners (MHPs) offering different therapy styles- counseling, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, etc. through online or in-person sessions of varying duration (mostly an hour). The websites below detail their location, languages, work experience, charges to help you make a choice or match you with an appropriate one. For appointment and enquiry, you may either need to fill a form or contact them directly.
Affordable, intersectional, caste-aware, kink-aware, queer affirmative and are open to individuals as well as organisations. They pioneered a #PayWhatYouWant model where they charge a base price of Rs. 299 over which you can pay what you can.
Their offices are in Mumbai and Bengaluru. You can book a session with any counsellor listed on their team. Contact:
Phone no: +91 7428292922
Email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Out here, they also list therapists offering sliding fee scales, helplines for domestic abuse support, and covid-19 related help.
A collective of 5 professionals, each offering therapy using a psychoanalytic approach.
Charges: Rs. 2,200 for a 45 minute session, negotiable depending on the client’s capacity to pay. To set up an appointment, you may fill this form or-
Contact: 011 41306663
Email ID: email@example.com
Hyderabad- based therapists for individuals, children and teens, women and couples, and groups, with intersectional, social-justice based, mindful, LGBTQIA+ affirmative and neurodiverse approaches. They design short-term programs for training professionals in corporate environments too. For appointments, refer to this link or contact-
Phone: 9490708947, 8106864001, 7032562301
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The largest training centre for mental health and neuroscience professionals in India. They host centres for psychiatric and psychological help, and addiction rehabilitation. At state and central government levels, they offer research and strategy to set up psychiatric institutions. Reach them here:
Hosur Road, Near Bangalore Milk Dairy, Bengaluru, Karnataka- 5600029
Phoe: 080 – 26995000
A youth-focused mental health campaign that encourages sharing of experiences and arts-based approach for mental wellbeing. Listen to others’ experiences on their instagram. Share your experiences with them here: firstname.lastname@example.org
A foundation aiming to make mental health care accessible to marginalized persons and communities. On Instagram @mariwalahealth they host conversations with mental health professionals on a range of topics and announce projects and activities. They support some organisations and programs on mental health like iCall, Anjali, Bapu Trust, Centre For Mental Health, Law and Policy (CMHLP), and more.
A support group which helps people from Bahujan communities find suitable mental health professionals, while caring about community healing and building sponsorships for those in need of free or affordable therapy.
Fill this form to get connected to a network of anti-caste, queer-friendly, disabled-friendly counseling services. If you wish to sponsor therapy, fill this form. If you are an MHP wishing to offer pro bono or affordable services, fill this form.
Helpful material to address not just questions of those needing care but also those of caregivers and professionals through explainer articles, laws and rights awareness, videos, talks with experts,etc. The website is available in English, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada.
A Kolkata based NGO making mental health institutions and systems intersectional and inclusive through advocacy and policy development, partnering with West-bengal government, the media and the people. Reach them here:
P101, C.I.T. Road, Kolkata 700014, West Bengal, India.
(033) 4004 5438 / (033) 4001 3385
An organisation providing care to homeless people with mental illnesses. They run 16 centres and clinics including emergency care and recovery centres, and shelter homes in Tamil Nadu, health centres and user-run services in Kerala, and are developings similar programmes in Maharashtra in partnership with TISS and the state government.
Includes lists of therapy gatherings, helplines, stories, articles, stories, visuals and, events and workshops. Filling this electronic form informs you of a pertinent support group or mental health counsellors.
An online space for young professionals trying to process the impact of lockdown on their mental health, interpersonal relationships, physical location and professional & financial security. Compassionate listening, non-judgmental sharing, experiential insights and guided conversation are held every Friday at 8 pm for 90 min, sometimes with guest speakers.
Social Media Accounts
A sex and relationships focused therapist specializing in Art Therapy for sexual violence, shares tips, explainers, book recommendations, and other insightful learnings. Hear her talk with us in detail about employing a decolonial approach in therapy- here and here.
A Canada-based therapist shares small wisdoms, learnings, observations and tips from his practice.
Richa Vashista: @richa_3
A queer-affirative, trauma informed MHP. You can expect regular updates about her talks, webinar and other engagements.
Trained in clinical psychology, offers therapy through trauma, addiction, gender and sexuality. Find interesting reels and posts created along with a small team.
IG live talks and discussions with mental health professionals, criss survivors, etc. Also find explainers for different mental health disorders- phobia, schizophrenia, body dysmorphia, and more.
Mental health awareness through stories and comics-healthcollective.in
iCALL, TISS Helpline for COVID
Number of the helpline: 9152987820
Timing: Monday-Saturday 10m to 6:00 pm
Languages Available: English, Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Gujarati, Tamil
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) / Doctors Without Borders
24/7 toll-free mental health helpline number is 1800 1203710
Emotional support and referral linkages for healthcare providers and counselors across india.
People Tree Maarga: 8046659999