MHFA India

MHFA™ India
Making a difference to our communities

MHFA India, established in 2017, operates under the license of MHFA International. It is dedicated to promoting mental health literacy, reducing stigma, and fostering positive attitudes towards early help-seeking in India. As the largest public-oriented program of its kind in the country, MHFA India focuses on evidence-based prevention, education, research, and advocacy.

With its headquarters in Chennai, MHFA India collaborates with Accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructors to provide training nationwide. The organization's mission is to create a balance between mental health and physical health knowledge among the public. By increasing awareness and understanding of mental health issues, MHFA India aims to empower individuals to provide initial support to those experiencing mental health challenges.

Evidence-based programs like Mental Health First Aid play a vital role in promoting mental health literacy and reducing stigma among the public.

Our Vision

We envision an Indian society where mental health knowledge and conversation are normalised and supportive actions and help-seeking are encouraged.

Our Mission

  • Empower lay people with quality knowledge and practical skills to maintain positive mental health in families, society, workplaces, institutions, etc.
  • Contribute towards reducing the prevalence of mental illness and the gap in treatment by strengthening prevention and early help-seeking
  • Address stigma in mental health by building mental health literacy
  • Strengthen mental health research and advocacy that informs the public

International Mental Health First Aid Quality Principals

Evidence into action

MHFA™ training is grounded in a rigorous evidence base that builds consensus from international research, evaluation, and best practices. It drives our program curriculum, delivery, and guidelines while translating this evidence into practical action at a community level.

Mental health literacy

MHFA™ training aims to increase mental health literacy and the enthusiasm in individuals to take care of their own mental health and that of others within their own networks or community.

Cultural safety

MHFA™ programs and services are designed to enable licensed providers to meet the unique needs of different regions, communities, workplaces, schools, and local groups. The curriculum is adapted to suit different audiences and their unique cultural and social requirements.

Focus on community

MHFA™ training focuses on community development and capacity building. It expands the knowledge, skills, and confidence of people from all walks of life to offer informal mental health support to people around them.

Practical skill development

MHFA™ training focuses on building skills for practical application in the form of a clear action plan to better recognise and respond to developing, existing, or worsening mental health problems, including crisis first aid. It will boost conversations about mental health to reduce stigma and misinformation about mental health problems and help-seeking.

Informed by experience

MHFA™ programs and operations draw from a consistent feedback loop with instructors, workplaces, community groups, schools, and individual participants, alongside mental health experts and also those with lived experience of mental health problems. This helps us improve quality, and innovate in design and delivery along with the delivery modes that are proven for efficacy and impact.

Reduce Stigma & Discrimination

MHFA™ India aims to reduce stigma and misinformation that can cause discrimination against people with mental health problems by promoting attitudes, language, and behaviour. It aims to improve interpersonal and community understanding of mental health issues and promote pathways to support.


Licensed Providers offering MHFA™ courses take the safety and mental health of instructors, first aiders, and participants into consideration at all times in the development and delivery of all training. Improving community safety around mental health and Mental Health First Aid® interventions is a key driver of our work.

Inclusivity and diversity

MHFA™ programs embrace the diversity of people across all communities and foster inclusion. Our curriculum enables instructors and first aiders to offer non-judgemental support respecting differences in race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, socio-economic status, education level, ability, and lifestyle.

MHFA India team

Ms. Erinda Shah

Founder & Managing Director

Erinda has garnered over 24 years of rich experience in the development field. She has been involved in the national reform of decentralization and deinstitutionalization of the mental health system in Albania, a WHO and Government of Albania initiative. For almost a decade, she has been engaged with various organisations in India like UNICEF, ActionAid, and The Banyan, which has enriched her understanding of social issues in the country. She is inspired to work in the human rights domain, with a special focus on children.

Cauvery Devika Dharmaraj

Non-Executive Director

Devika has been working in the field of Human Resources for nearly 30 years and has worked across manufacturing, IT and ITES, social enterprise, and the not-for-profit sectors. She is a certified HR competency assessor and executive coach, a POSH internal committee trainer, and a lay counselor, as well as an Instructor in Standard Mental Health First Aid with MHFA India.


Senior Executive-Admin & Training Operations

Ramesh a qualified MCA with experience in working in different verticals. His knowledge, skills, commitment to excellence, and proven track record in managing complex tasks undoubtedly contribute immensely to the team.

Balaji S

Digital Marketing Executive

Balaji has a proven track record in digital marketing, and he is dedicated to driving innovation and excellence in MHFA India. As a digital marketing executive, he brings  four years of experience in social media marketing & search engine marketing, consistently delivering outstanding results through strategic planning and a customer-centric approach.


Graphic Designer

Rajkumar qualified Civil Engineer in UI UX Designing with first-hand experience in User Research, Wireframing and Prototyping, Poster Design, and Flyers. He plays a vital role as an interaction designer in the team.

Harshini Praveen

Mental Well-Being Officer

Harshini is a post-graduate in medical psychology with career-oriented program skills for personal effectiveness and counseling. Passionate professional well-versed in therapies, emotional, cognitive, and social aspects of human conduct. She is known for her relationship-building abilities. 


Mental Well-Being Officer

Alankritha is an RCI-registered clinical psychologist with six years of extensive experience in the field. Her expertise encompasses hands-on assessment of psychometric evaluations and the provision of diverse psychotherapies. Alankritha's academic contributions include publishing articles in both national and international journals, and she has been honored with best paper awards. Furthermore, she holds prestigious recognitions in psychology, including entries in the Book of Tamil Records and the Asian Book of Records.

C.P Govardhan

Consultant Accounts

Govardhan is an ACA and ICMA (12+ years of industrial experience). 12 years of industrial experience as Senior Manager Finance and Regional Finance Head. I worked with SICAL, Alstom T&D India Ltd, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Limited. Involved in SAP implementation and design of accounting systems with built-in controls and reporting features, have hands-on Knowledge of SEZ and all taxation laws. expertise and knowledge in handling income tax appeals, Income tax Hearings, etc.

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