Locations: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Sponsor: NA

“Recovery is a process, a way of life, an attitude, and a way of approaching the day’s challenges. It is not a perfectly linear process.  At times our course is erratic and we falter, slide back,  regroup and start again . . . . The need is to meet the challenge of the disability  and to re-establish a new and valued sense of integrity  and purpose within and beyond the limits of the disability; the aspiration is to live, work, and love in a community in which one makes a significant contribution.”
- Patricia Deegan (1988)

Tarasha is a field action project of the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School Of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Initiated in 2011, Tarasha has been conceptualized as a community based recovery model for women recovering from mental disorders. At the core, the project addresses issues of Self, Shelter and Livelihoods.

Working from a rights-based perspective, Tarasha facilitates the transition of women living with mental disorders from institutions back into the community through networking, capacity building and sensitizing programs.

The intervention focuses on addressing issues relating to the ‘self’ such as understanding self, de-mystifying diagnosis and treatment, managing the disorder, recovery, community living, fostering self-awareness, capacity building, and developing cognitive and social skills through regular individual counselling as well as therapeutic group sessions. To support this process of recovery and independent living, the project has partnered with working women’s hostels in the field, day care centres, vocational training institutes and employers to create a large network for inclusive practice. Tarasha clients who have been long-stay patients at the mental hospital are also 'undocumented' persons. Tarasha recognises the importance of citizenship rights and entitlements and works to ensure that the clients obtain documents to establish their identity beyond the diagnosis of a mental disorder. Since the inception of the project, Tarasha has helped the women open bank accounts and procure Aadhar cards. Supported by an environment of respect, dignity and inclusive practice Tarasha women have been able to maintain recovery for more than 3 years.

Recovery from mental disorders encompasses both internal processes such as aspirations, personality traits and symptom management as well as external factors such as interaction with the environment and social support. Independence, or rather, interdependence, employment and fulfilment of community roles are all part of that recovery process. Employment is known to promote mental health by facilitating an individual’s identity, providing economic independence, enhancing social status and interactions and giving a sense of contribution to the individual in addition to a basic structure of their day – this is a focal point of the project, thereby facilitating a breakaway from the cycle of unemployment-poverty-marginalisation-increasing disability.

Women recovering from mental disorders are entitled to an independent and a dignified life and cannot be institutionalised forever. Women who lack adequate family and social support and become 'long stay patients' of the hospital, despite being asymptomatic are given another way to get back on their feet and live in dignity through the project.

Our Objectives:

  • To support women recovering from mental disorders in making a transition from institutions back into the community through networking, capacity building and sensitizing programs
  • To facilitate the process of recovery in women aimed at addressing psycho-social issues, shelter, sustainable livelihoods and economic independence
  • To shift society from a mind-set of exclusion and stigmatisation to inclusion, thereby supporting to create safe, non-threatening spaces for women with a history of mental disorders
  • To influence policy through advocacy and networking.