Uniting Hearts and Minds: Experiences from a Pilot Festival of Youth Creative Expressions on Mental Health in India

Shivani Mathur Gaiha, Gulfam Fazlur Rahman, Iram Siddiqui, Vijayluxmi Bose, Sujaya Krishnan



Mental-health-related social stigma prevents youth from seeking timely help for mental health problems. The purpose of this study is to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a pilot arts intervention to reduce such stigma among college youth in India.


The intervention included three sessions, focused on 1) mental health education, 2) developing art, and 3) a mental-health-themed festival to display art for an invited audience. We assessed feasibility through creation of student-generated art and acceptability in post-intervention surveys and video recordings.

Results and Conclusion

The intervention was completed by 371 participants who created 86 works of art (paintings, puppet-shows, drama, dance, and poetry), which was displayed to 434 audience members at Uniting Hearts and Minds: A Festival of Creative Expressions on Mental Health. Participants self-reported understanding causes and symptoms of mental health problems, interpreting experiences and expressed empathy (n=194). Our pilot intervention engaged youth, showing potential to reduce mental-health-related stigma and to address feasibility issues related to reaching all colleges uniformly.


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DOI: http://doi.org/10.11591/ijphs.v11i4.21804


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