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Mental Health: The Hidden Epidemic

October 23, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

View a recording of the webinar!

This panel is part of the webinar series Resilience and Well-Being Through the Lens of the Pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has created complex challenges and caused serious disruption in the functioning of communities across the globe. These experiences can cause significant stress and increases the risk of experiencing mental health issues. This webinar will explore India’s efforts to improve access to mental health care and empower communities to address mental health impacts of the pandemic, especially among those most vulnerable.


Aparna Joshi, Assistant Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences International)
Vikram Patel, Pershing Square Professor of Global Health, Harvard Medical School
Raj Mariwala, Director, Mariwala Health Initiative
Priscilla Giri, Research Administrator, DLR Prerna
Michael Matergia, Chief Executive Officer, Broadleaf Health & Education Alliance

Moderated by Dr. Christina Cruz, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, UNC-Chapel Hill

This webinar series is part of the Modern Indian Studies Initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a leading public university and home to the largest Asia Studies Center in the southeastern U.S., Carolina is uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of advancing knowledge of modern India across North Carolina, the United States and beyond. In partnership with leaders from North Carolina’s Indian-American community, UNC has embarked on a bold initiative to transform the model for Indian Studies. We are forging ahead in establishing the country’s leading program in Modern Indian Studies – increasing knowledge and understanding of the India of today, and its rapidly evolving future.

about the panelists

dr. Christina Cruz

Christina Cruz is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Division of Global Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She is the PI of the Global Child Mental Health Collaborative @ UNC. While faculty at UNC, Dr. Cruz has been awarded the AACAP Junior Investigator Award, the Thrasher Early Career Award, and the Gene Orringer Junior Faculty Career Development KL2 (TraCS KL2) at UNC. During her general psychiatry residency at UNC, Dr. Cruz was named a SAMHSA Minority Fellow through the American Psychiatric Association. While a child and adolescent psychiatry fellow at UNC, she was awarded the AACAP Pilot Research Award and named an OGHE UNC Global Health Scholar. Dr. Cruz received her MD from Harvard Medical School and concurrently her Masters in Education in Prevention Science and Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While at Harvard pursuing dual degrees, she was named a Zuckerman Fellow. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Economics, with concentrations in Finance and Accounting, Summa cum Laude, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Michael Matergia

Michael Matergia, MD is a family physician and global health practitioner passionate about the design of healthcare delivery in low-resources settings. As the CEO of Broadleaf Health and Education Alliance and Investigator in the Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health, Michael partners with children, families, and schools in the Darjeeling Himalayas to develop innovative, data-driven programs that improve educational outcomes and maximize wellbeing.   



Aparna Joshi

Aparna Joshi is currently working as an Assistant Professor with the School of Human Ecology at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and is teaching courses in Applied Psychology. She is a practicing psychologist and psychotherapist and has completed her PhD from TISS. Over the past twenty-five years, she has been involved in designing and implementing innovative mental health interventions in varied settings that range from hospital, community, courts, institutions and clinic. At present, she directs two field action projects at TISS, one of which is iCALL, a national level technology assisted, professionally run, free counselling service for communities (over past 8 years). Aparna’s research interests and work involve themes of gender, violence against women, adolescent mental health, counselling and psychosocial interventions. Many of her projects are carried out in partnership with National and International organizations. Aparna is also actively involved in designing curricula and building capacities of mental health and helping professionals and providing consultancy within the larger field of mental health.  

Vikram Patel

Vikram Patel is The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at the Harvard Medical School. He co-leads the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard initiative. His work has focused on the burden of mental health problems, their association with social disadvantage, and the use of community resources for their prevention and treatment. He is a co-founder of the Movement for Global Mental Health, the Centre for Global Mental Health (at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), the Mental Health Innovations Network, and Sangath, an Indian NGO which won the WHO Public Health Champion of India prize. He is a Fellow of the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences and has served on the Committee which drafted India’s first National Mental Health Policy and the WHO High Level Independent Commission for NCDs. He has been awarded the Chalmers Medal, the Sarnat Prize, the Pardes Humanitarian Prize, an Honorary OBE and the John Dirk Canada Gairdner Award in Global Health. He was listed in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential persons of the year in 2015.

Raj Mariwala

Raj Mariwala is a Director at Mariwala Health Initiative, a mental health funding & advocacy agency with a focus on making mental health accessible to marginalized communities in India. Previous work experience includes livelihood-related work at Mercy Corps International as well as in the for-profit sector in India. Currently, Raj serves on the Advisory Board of Global Mental Health Action Network. Due to being an an active part of Indian feminist collectives and movements for the last 15 years – Raj’s engagement with mental health is influenced by this activism as well as personally as a neurodivergent person. 


Priscilla Giri

Priscilla Giri is a research administrator of a research program TeaLeaf (Teachers Leading the Frontline) Mansik Swastha in Darjeeling, India. Experienced in project designing, implementation and evaluation. Has worked with the schools in rural communities in Darjeeling for the past eight years and involved in the mental health program for five years. Priscilla Giri has completed her master’s degree on Medical and Psychiatric Social Work, and a course on Narrative Therapy from Ummeed’s Mental Health Training Program. 



view the original article!


October 23, 2020
10:00 am - 12:00 pm