In light of facing a global health crisis, Preliminary estimates suggest the total number of global deaths attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to be at least 3 million, representing 1.2 million more deaths than officially reported by nations. Of the huge health challenges created by COVID-19, perhaps the least understood is its impact on global mental health, especially that of children and adolescents. Orphan hood and caregiver deaths in itself stand as a hidden pandemic resulting from Covid-19-associated deaths. As a result of these immense factors, mental health support for children in India and across the world has become an extremely important area of urgent intervention especially with models that can scale well at a low cost.

Keeping the above aspects in mind, Project ‘Mindrise’ is an initiative of Progressive Foundation in partnership with Parliamentarians with Innovators for Impact. Mindrise is currently being funded by GIZ. The program aims at improving the mental health of those children who have lost a parent (or both) due to Covid-19. It purports to touch base with children who have had to drop out of school due to the Covid-19 pandemic, or have lack of access to resources during shutdown of schools to continue the with academics or have been forced to quit school due to their family’s financial disabilities caused the by the pandemic. Mindrise aims to provide mental health counseling to children, to take the first step towards emotional and psychological well-being as well as coping with grief/loss/post-traumatic stress.

So far, we received almost 900 phone calls since February 2022 relating to queries about the project including children asking for leads on career counseling, different career avenues, as well as few of them following up to talk about the effect of the counseling session on them and the improvement since the session was held. We have so far been able to speak to around 2,500 children out of which we have conducted almost 200 sessions since February.