Basic Needs India

  • BasicNeeds works to bring about a lasting change in the lives of mentally ill people around the world.
  • Mental illness is a problem that is often ignored and this is especially the case in the poorest countries in the world. With an often complete lack of locally available, free mental health care, desperately poor mentally ill people stand little hope of recovery.
  • Working with mentally ill people, rather than just for them, we have built an innovative approach to the problem that tackles mentally ill peoples’ poverty, as well as their illness … (full text what we do).

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Address: 158a Parade, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. CV32 4AE, England;
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About: BasicNeeds works in the developing world to end the suffering of mentally ill people.

By ensuring that their basic needs are met and their basic rights are respected, we aim to give hope to the thousands of people who struggle daily with a lack of treatment and the stigma surrounding their disease. 

We work with people suffering from many types of mental and neurological illnesses, in remote rural countryside to urban slums, in seven countries.

Our work is based on the philosophy of building inclusive communities, where mentally ill people – through development – realise their own rights.

Established in 1999 by Chris Underhill with funding from Andrews Charitable Trust and the Joel Joffe Charitable Trust, we have pioneered a way of working which places mentally ill people at the heart of all we do.

Called the Model for Mental Health and Development, we address both people’s illnesses and their poverty to lead to a sustainable recovery.

We work to help mentally ill people by giving them access to community based treatment so that their illnesses can be stabilised and they can get back towards a normal life.

Through building the capacity of communities, partner organisations and primary health care workers we help stop the stigma surrounding mental illness.

By providing opportunities for sustainable livelihoods we give mentally ill people a chance to work and contribute to their family income.

We also carry out valid, effective and much-needed research that listens to mentally ill people so that we have the authority to challenge people’s views on mental health and measure our successes and failures.

Improving the administration and management of our partner organisations is also important to our work so that we can help mentally ill people effectively far beyond the reach of our organisation.

Currently we work in India, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Laos PDR. Soon we hope to also operate in Colombia.

BasicNeeds India Trust manages the work in India and is joined to BasicNeeds UK through a Memorandum of Understanding.

We have 51 full-time staff and a network of part-time staff and associates.

So far we have helped over 45,000 mentally ill people, not to mention their carers, their families and their communities. Unfortunately, there are many, many more people who still need our help..

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