The large-scale impact of Neerja Birla's mental healthcare start-up


The large-scale impact of Neerja Birla’s mental healthcare start-up

Mpower has impacted the lives of 17 million Indians so far

By Aabha Bakaya  December 12th, 2018

This year, Neerja Birla was named by World Economic Forum as Woman Of The Decade, for her work in community mental healthcare. MPower, founded just three years ago by Birla and her daughter Ananya, in an attempt to raise awareness about mental health in the country, has already impacted the lives of 17 million people. Birla herself has had a brush with post-partum depression, and having three kids herself, has seen many adolescents deal with issues at a young age. She believes that creating awareness around health issues can help win half the battle. Like any other disease, mental health affects people from all walks of life and their aim is to break the myth that being successful or having money or fame means you can’t be facing depression, anxiety or clinical disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The idea is for people to be able to feel okay with not being okay. The Centre, which is based in South Mumbai offers a range of services, from consultancy to professional psychiatric and psychological help bundled with a holistic approach, which includes music and dance therapy, for instance. The Foundation, also in South Mumbai, was launched late last year to further broaden the scope of those services to other members of society at subsidised rates. MPower has been active in participating in on-ground sporting events like the Mumbai Marathon and curating the annual MPower Fest. Next on Birla’s agenda is expanding to Bengaluru and Delhi as well as tier two and three cities.

Photograph: Prarthna Singh
Styling: Akshita Singh
Hair and make-up: Jean-Claude Biguine, Mumbai
Assisted by: Pratiksha Ladage (Styling)

On Birla: Cotton jumpsuit, Rs. 10,500, Notebook. Leather heels, metal bracelet; both Birla’s own. Metal ring, Rs. 3,000, Cornerstone at Minerali