Mental illness is the leading burden of disease for young people, and those affected experience restrictions in social participation that compromise recovery. Poor mental health among young people is associated with reduced access to education, underemployment and lack of social networks. India scores low on levels of gender equality when compared globally3, leaving many young Indian women at a social and economic disadvantage that cumulatively and differentially impacts their wellbeing4. Young women are also at greater risk of mental distress, due to prevalent attitudes around hegemonic masculinity which socially values males over females5.
Intervention components and delivery
Nae Disha is a participatory, peer-led, community-based initiative that responds to global calls for action on evidence-based interventions in low resource settings such as India to increase mental health, social inclusion and resilience among young people aged 12-24 years. The programme runs for 18 weeks by group facilitators that are locally recruited young women (aged 20-30) who expressed enthusiasm to work in youth resilience. Criteria for recruit included being female and having completed secondary school education.
They were given 5 days of training that addressed group facilitation skills as well as curriculum content and a 2-day refresher training of after completion of eight modules. Young women were formed into eight groups with 12–15 participants per group that met in the home of one of the group members by agreement with their household members, for 15 consecutive weeks. They facilitated Nae Disha in pairs. A team leader supported facilitators with planning, reporting and stepped in if a peer facilitator was unable to attend. A Nae Disha field coordinator supported all aspects of the intervention delivery and performed monitoring and support.