The Banyan (NGO)

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The Banyan
The Banyan (NGO) Logo.jpg
Type NGO
Founder(s) Vandana Gopikumar and Vaishnavi Jayakumar
Headquarters
  • Chennai, India
Motto I exist therefore I am
Website Official website

The Banyan is an NGO based in Chennai, India was founded in 1993 by Vandana Gopikumar and Vaishnavi Jayakumar to cater to the mentally ill and destitute women in the city. It also host The Banyan Balm, an annual event which attracts Mental Health Professionals from across the country, engaging in various relevant topics such as Mental Health Legislation, Psychosocial and Socioeconomic issues.[1]

The Banyan & Institute of Mental Health (Chennai)[edit]

In November, 2008, The Hindu[2] reported that The Banyan, which previously had a 4-year agreement with the Institute of Mental Health, Chennai via a Memorandum of Association, was planning on not renewing the contract. Prior to the decision, The Banyan representatives visited IMH premises and were confronted by hospital staff because the organisation was interfering in the workings of IMH by providing outreach to the inpatients. The protesting staff also raised slogans and blocked the exit of the premises were the representatives was present. The protest was quelled by the director of IMH, who assisted in helping the The Banyan representatives leave the premises. As the MoA was not renewed, The Banyan suspended its services through Dial 100 Mental Health Helpline.

In January, 2009, The Hindu[2][3] reported that The Banyan was organizing protests against Institute of Mental Health, Chennai (IMH). It alleged that IMH was providing inhumane and poor quality of care to their inpatients. The co-founder of the organisation alleged that IMH was violating human rights and said that any patient found to be escaping from the IMH premises was brutally instigated. Basic hygienic and clothing needs of the patients were also neglected. It was decided that people associated with The Banyan would file a Public Interest Litigation against IMH to continue the interventions and outreach by NGOs to the inpatients. A protest was also planned to highlight the conditions of the patients in IMH.

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