Building Capacity for the Future - BALM

The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM) is a sister organisation of The Banyan founded in 2007. BALM brings to the forefront more than 20 years of The Banyan’s own experience in the mental health and social sectors.

BALM’s focus is to advocate for positive mental health, increase access to care and recovery, engage in research and capacity building towards making relevant policy changes in the mental health and development sectors and to implement strategies to achieve visible outcomes, particularly in the context of persons affected by homelessness and poverty. More details on BALM can be seen here. Read more

BALM currently has the following programmes:

Research and Dissemination

Since its inception in 2007, BALM have conducted a wide variety of research into mental health issues and shared the outcomes, both in published works and through seminars.

Monitoring & Evaluation

The skills that the BALM team possess provide a robust process to help The Banyan develop the quality of programmes. By setting up a suitable monitoring system for The Banyan’s programmes, and evaluating the results, useful learning can be fed into the programme development process.

Mental Health Social Action Laboratory

Started in 2012, the lab has provided opportunities to understand, apply and test ways to address real mental health issues. The lab captures The Banyan’s experience by offering professional staff a research opportunity to explore their own work, improving outcomes for clients. It also offers opportunities to others working practically in the field to contribute to the research programme.


BALM offers practical action-based training opportunities for those working with mental health. This can be in the form of internships – volunteering directly in The Banyan’s work, supervised to extract learning from the experience by BALM staff. BALM also offers short course trainings to professionals, government officials, healthcare workers and so on.

Institute of Mental Health, Social Sciences and Transdisciplinary Research - IMHST

This collaboration between BALM, the TATA Institute for Social Sciences (TISS) and VU Amsterdam aims to develop professionals for the mental health sector. Their first programme was a Masters in Social Work in Mental Health which had its initial cohort of students from 2013, who graduated in March 2015. This program combines academic rigour with the practical field-based experience of The Banyan. Students are based in Kovalam, living alongside residents at the Protected Community. Read more