Open Secret: Muktha Foundation Aims to Kill the Roots of CSA and Mental Illness


Ashwini N.V has worked as a psychiatrist for the past 7 years. In this period, her interactions with her patients have been revelatory. “I observed that patients who have survived abuse are the ones who are suffering the most from mental illnesses. That’s when I realised that until and unless abuse is stopped, the development of mental illnesses will not stop.” As a way of working towards solutions, she started a project called Muktha, and later, she decided to formally start an organisation called Muktha Foundation in July 2017. 


The main objectives of Muktha Foundation are to Prevent Abuse and Promote Mental Health. Their work encompasses Training, Research, Prevention and Advocacy. Dr. Ashwini also works as a faculty member at a few institutions; she teaches and provides training on these subjects so that the message can reach more people.

Their research covers all types of abuse and details on training and advocacy on these subjects. When talking about prevention, they work on four aspects:

  1. Pre-modaratory Prevention
  2. Primary Prevention
  3. Secondary Prevention 
  4. Tertiary Prevention
  • Under Tertiary Prevention, the person who has suffered abuse and is suffering from depression and other mental health issues is helped. Doctors will treat them and support them to come out of it.
  • Secondary Prevention is related to vulnerable communities where these communities are noted and provided with awareness and training on these subjects.
  • Primary Prevention happens when no problem has developed but awareness and training is provided to the person.
  • Pre-Modaratory Prevention involves reducing risk factors and increasing life factors. This means providing awareness to parents on various subjects related to abuse. It’s good to talk about child sexual abuse because it will make parents and every one else conscious of the problem.

Dr. Ashwini speaks in this interview about four projects:

  1. Bhaya Muktha (Freedom from Fear) – a mission to end child sexual abuse through awareness and training to reach larger communities. 
  2. Muktha Abhivektha (Limitless Expression) – talking to persons through methods like creative therapy, storytelling, music, drama, talking therapy, bubbly therapy and more helps them open up more. These trainings should be provided by well-trained professionals. Ashwini recalls an event which was organised by 18 poets, where they wrote and sang about child sexual abuse.
  3. Mukthakatha – where survivors’ stories are collected and published to help inspire others. 
  4. Mukthavrutha – a listening circle where different subjects are chosen and discussed. 

Listen in for more…

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