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Being India

An international initiative to understand the mental health and well-being needs of young people and identify priority areas for intervention.


2023 - 2024


National focus on India with a regional focus on Odisha and Rajasthan


Prof. Abhijit Nadkarni and Dr. Soumitra Pathare



Being India aims to better understand the factors that influence youth mental health and wellbeing in India and identify contextual solutions to address these needs. Being India is a part of Being, an international initiative to examine the youth mental health landscape in 13 priority countries and identify actionable solutions and opportunities to improve wellbeing.

Our project maintains a national focus on India and a regional focus on Odisha and Rajasthan.


India has over 350 million young people aged 10-24 years, representing the single largest concentration of young people anywhere in the world. Anxiety and depression account for one-third of the total burden of disease in adolescents. Furthermore, suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in India. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, deaths by suicide are increasing annually in India, where young people are particularly vulnerable. In 2021,34.5% of all deaths by suicide were by young people between the ages of 18 to 30.

Despite the concerning statistics, fewer than 10% of young Indians have access to formal mental health services. The transitional stage of development between childhood, or adolescence to adulthood is critical for early intervention as it holds implications for long-term wellbeing

Through the project activities and findings, we expect the following impact:

  • A comprehensive understanding of the existing gaps, solutions, and opportunities in the domain of youth mental health in India

  • Strengthened national and regional networks for future collaboration and advocacy on youth mental health

Progress till date

Between April to November 2023, the Being India team undertook a range of activities, including:

Desk review: A review of key issues faced by young people in India through preliminary desk review of academic articles, reports and white papers.

Youth engagement: We established a youth advisory board (YAB) of 9 members from diverse backgrounds and different tiers of cities. Our YAB members were regularly consulted to review and reflect on youth perspectives on project outputs

  • We engaged with 20 young people through the photovoice workshops in Odisha and Rajasthan. The activity was a week-long process including a day-long training, data collection and focus group discussions.

  • We launched a national-level youth survey to capture diverse insights from young people in India. It was conducted in English, Hindi, and Odia and reached over 560 young people through online dissemination.

Expert consultations and interviews: We engaged with 43 experts working in the youth mental health domain from government departments, civil society organisations, executive agencies, funders, private sector organisations, and digital mental health platforms.

Consensus building workshop: The project activities culminated with state-level workshops in Odisha and Rajasthan. Participants included key stakeholders at the state level, including nodal authorities for health and education, representatives from civil society organisations, and the private sector. Highlights from the workshops in Odisha and Rajasthan are linked here, and here.

The project work and findings will be presented through a report and dissemination events in Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai in early 2024.


Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy, Pune, India


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