Support Groups

All support groups at IPH are organized on a completely ‘No charge’ basis. In most of these groups IPH professionals work as facilitators & as a resource.

Through the support groups we provide help to the clients (we don’t call them patients) as well as the family members/caregivers of the clients.

IPH Pune center works as a single “hub” for all the different support group. This is a unique scheme being run for the first time in India in the field of community mental health.

Monthly schedule of all support groups : आरोग्य स्वसहाय्य गट (मासिक वेळापत्रक)
* Please note that all support groups are free ( सर्व स्वमदत गटांमधील सहभाग संपूर्णपणे निःशुल्क असणार आहे. )

What is a support group?

Self-help groups or support groups, are groups of people who share similar health issues, addiction or mental illness and provide mutual support for each other. Support group model encourages its members to share coping strategies and helps create sense of empowerment and community.

Health issues (mental or physical), addictions, coping with loss of a loved one, parenting a special child – all of these impact quality of life for the person and the immediate caregivers.  Support group provides a forum to them to discuss, understand, share about the problems and develop coping strategies better.

The concept of support group was born almost 80 years back in America for alcohol addiction, named Alcohol Anonymous, which today is one of the widely spread movement across 180 countries worldwide.

Support groups for physical illness –

For physical illnesses like cancer or diabetes, patient goes through long and tiring stages of disease getting diagnosed, treated, cured and challenge to keep it in control or possibility of recurrence.  Support from families and friends is most important; but support from others facing similar issues is equally valuable. They help improve ability to cope and ability to feel in control over situation better.

Cancer and diabetes support groups run in Pune have been very helpful and supportive for the patients.

Support groups for mental health illnesses –

Mental health, distress and disorders carry a huge stigma even today in our society. There is a dire need for us to recognize, accept & work on these issues in personal and extended peripheries of each of us.

A person facing a disorder or severe mental health issue as well as the caregivers supporting this person go through a challenging time while they fight with the problem at hand. The stigma surrounding the illness and the lengthy recovery period take their toll on the person and the caregivers. Support groups help these people deal and cope with the illness better. They start looking at the experiences and illness in a balanced perspective and draw their learnings and inspirations from each other.

Various support groups like Shubharthi (Schizophrenia), Perfect group (for OCD), Trendsetters (Highly functioning mental health patients) have proven to be very helpful and create positive impact for people suffering the illness.

Support groups for Family and caregivers –

Family and immediate caregivers play a very important role in recovery of any illness, physical or related to mental health. Accepting the person and his illness as is the first step. The recovery cycles are often long, tiresome and demanding. Connecting with people going through similar issues, sharing the experiences and learning from each other helps them cope better and keep up their positive outlook.

Support groups held for the families and caregivers like Sahachari (For spouses of addicts), Ankur (For children of addicts) and Shubhankar (Caregivers of schizophrenia patients) have shown great impact.

How does a support group operate?

Support group meetings are conducted once a month for 2 hours in IPH Pune Activity center premise. Each support group has a trained volunteer or psychologist associated with it.

Joining and participating in support group is voluntary. Person undergoing the illness, recovered from the illness, care givers or anyone who wishes to get associated to the cause, can be part of support group activity.

Various activities conducted during the meetings are –

  1. Discussion on various challenges & coping strategies adopted
  2. Reading relevant material or watching a film followed by group discussion
  3. Talks by experts or people who have recovered / coped well with the illness
  4. Appreciating the milestones achieved by members in their recovery

About IPH (Institute for Psychological Health)

Institute of Psychological Health was born in 1990 in Thane city with a vision, ‘Mental Health for All’ – ‘सुदृढ मन सर्वांसाठी’.

In its journey of 28 eventful years it has evolved a rich umbrella of services, initiatives, events, projects and collaborations that address all conceivable age groups, all socioeconomic strata and a wide range of individuals & teams.  With a team of 70 mental health professionals, support group of 40 admin team members and over 100 trained volunteers, it is the largest functioning group in voluntary sector, in the area of mental health across the whole country.

From March 2018, IPH started its Pune Activity Center to cater to the community and corporate workforce in and around this vibrant and dynamically growing city.

Dr. Anand Nadkarni, founder trustee of IPH, has given more than thirty five years of his career for the cause of comprehensive mental health. As a mentor, he is now available to share his wisdom with a young team of IPH Pune, empowering them to create a more evolved model of comprehensive Community Mental Health.

Support Groups and associated projects run by IPH Thane

For many years, IPH Thane center has been conducting support groups for various causes. Below are details for the same -

  • Vyasanmukti – addicts group
  • Sahachari (सहचरी) – Support group for spouses of addicts
  • Ankur (अंकुर) – Support group for children of addicts
  • Perfect – OCD support group
  • Shubharthi (शुभार्थी) and Shubhankar (शुभंकर) – Support groups for Schizophrenia patients (Shubharthi) and their caregivers and family members (Shubhankar)
  • Trendsetters – support group for high functioning mentally ill people
  • Samyog (संयोग) – for parents of Autistic kids
  • Sahas (साहस) – LGBT support group

This support group movement has led to two major community programs with significant impact – Tridal and Swadam.

  • Tridal (त्रिदल) – As part of Tridal project Shubharthis work for 4 hrs. every weekday to make different food products like Calpro ( a nutrient supplement kheer preparation), Chivada, Laddus, Dry Chutneys etc. & many other seasonal items. This productive activity schedule for Shubharthis have helped them lead meaningful life, earn and boost their confidence.
  • Swadam (स्वादम्) – Swadam is a kitchen run by Sahacharis (Spouses of addicts) cooperatively providing catering services to IPH and beyond. The tasty and hygienic food has good fan following. For women struggling with addiction issues at home, this project gives them confidence and earnings ability.

Support Groups in Pune

Muktangan Deaddiction center, led by Late Dr. Sunanda Avachat, started a support group ‘Sahachari’ (meaning companion) for spouses of addicts almost 25 years back. Today similar groups are conducted across cities in Maharashtra, including annual conferences.

Apart from addiction, there are active support groups conducted for cancer, diabetes, schizophrenia, epilepsy, special children, Alzheimer, depression and so on. These multiple support groups in Pune were/are conducted by volunteers at various locations.

Setu at IPH Pune

Setu (The Bridge) is an effort by IPH Pune Activity Center to bring all these support groups under one roof, and give a definitive framework to the support group movement. Probably for first time in India, a model of multiple community support groups under one roof has started! Within two months of operations, 7 support groups have started functioning as part of Setu from IPH Pune center. Please refer to Setu Program calendar in last section.

IPH Pune Activity Center has a hall with capacity for 35+ people, also open areas and covered terraces where multiple activities and support group meetings can be arranged. A designated coordinator for Setu, back office team and front desk team capable to respond to any queries is available. IPH bears the expenses for these meetings, various events, hosting the guests including honorarium for them and volunteers.

Coping with an illness, even a physical one, needs a strong emotional coping. With a strong expertise and experience in field of mental health, IPH can contribute very effectively in emotional coping. A team of trained volunteers, psychologists and psychiatrists can be made available for anyone seeking help.

The volunteers working with the support groups need training and refresher programs. IPH will conduct 6 workshops every year for volunteers, for their training and skill development.

All activities for support group members and volunteer trainings are free of cost. Funds required for all these activities will be provided from the community donations and contributions.

Setu program needs to fund various support group related expenses like

  1. Operational expenses (venue, back office team, refreshments, and stationary)
  2. Various events (Hosting the guests, travel and lodging expenses, honorarium)
  3. Volunteers’ trainings and honorarium.

How can you help?

IPH Pune center works as a single “hub” for all the different support groups, as backbone enabling infrastructure, back and front office support as well as professional facilitators and volunteer trainings. This is a unique scheme being run for the first time in India in the field of community mental health.

All support groups at IPH are organized on a completely ‘No charge’ basis. Funds required for the administrative expenses and honorarium is funded through individual or CSR donors.

  1. You can join the volunteering program and post training, work with a support group at IPH.
  2. You can help through donations or sponsorship of events.
  3. You can sponsor a support group for one year with 75,000/- donation.

For information and queries please Write to or call on 7588098058


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