The Woman who redefined the mental health paradigm in India
“Dr Prakriti Poddar. Her story is not story of a common girl, it is story of girl that was seen as banker of family, it is story of family where it is expected that housewife is better-suited job, and her friend believed she will be mother. To earn an income and to support a lifestyle was difficult; she mothered 3 children, and practiced at home. Internally, the passion did not die. She needed to break the stigma and release people from their internal, self-imposed bond;, Prakriti Poddar, today is voice as an expert in mental health area, thought leader, Councilor in knowledge, information and awareness, a writer, an activist and a motivation speaker.
Finally, she is sticking to what she believes in and creating a platform for people to share their care. Today she is proudly a managing trustee of Poddar Foundation, of almost only organization that works with poorest of poor on mental well-being, owner of “Mind over image” and Director and equity holder of Poddar wellness limited.
Born in a family of bankers, Prakriti was always expected and encouraged by her father to follow the same career path. Yet, the influence of her maternal grandmother – who was a faith healer – subconsciously drew Prakriti towards the idea of making healing a mission of her life. Even as she followed her father’s dream, it was while interacting with people, educating them on inner peace and listening to them, that she always came alive.
After spending several years in Canada, Prakriti returned to India and started working in the area of Corporate and Personal Wellness. In 2001 she started her Mind Over Image Consulting with focus on providing Corporate Counseling, Life Coaching and Soft Skill Development for professionals while also helping address their mental health issues. Mind Over Image Consulting is the only holistic mental wellness center in India, which imbibes
traditional counselling and well-being with advanced technological innovations in mental wellness. Gradually, Prakriti emerged as one of the most prominent voices on mental wellness in India, at a time when this subject was clouded by stigma. She went on to develop path-breaking techniques for deep healing and interventions towards wellness, and became a certified Neurofeedback technician.
Having spent several years working with corporate professionals and upper middle class Indians, Prakriti decided it was time to take mental health awareness to the grassroots and
shift focus to underprivileged Indians whose mental health was a long neglected subject.
This quest led her to found the Poddar Foundation in 2014.
As the Managing Trustee of Poddar Foundation, Prakriti focuses on creating preventive mental health programs for the country. The ‘Silence Todo’ initiative by The Foundation aims to remove the stigma surrounding mental health. The Foundation also works with schools, teachers, government organizations, gram panchayats, social workers, anganwadis and communities in order to create a support network for the people. The Foundation is currently working with over 200 gram panchayats in Maharashtra and has created a teaching and training manual for social health workers, teachers, aganwadi’s as well as medical officers. Prakriti has also conducted a pilot training program “The Prakalp Prerna” mandated by the Maharashtra health ministry to train medical officers to take mental health awareness and initiatives to rural areas.
Her path-breaking efforts in the field of mental health awareness have brought national and international recognition for Prakriti.
She was awarded ‘The Iconic Woman Of the Year in Social Service’ by the Nav Bharat Times.
In 2017 The India Leadership Conclave awarded Prakriti with India’s Most Promising Woman Leader in Mental Health, Holistic Support and Wellness Model’ award
She spoke at the Horasis India Meet in Spain on the mental health challenges and strategies for India to overcome mental health issues
Prakriti is the Chief Strategy Officer of the National Women’s Parliament, a platform that gives power to the collective voice of women and works over a series of issues – from gender equality, sanitation, child rights, environment, to nutrition.