Bhargavi Davar who went on to become a mental health activist had set her vision since childhood. The horror she had seen and imagined, shock treatments and confinements that goes on behind those four walls. The stigma that is attached to it. People who believe in supersitions as a cure, who consider mental illness as “madness” more than an illness which need special attention and care. Bhargavi, whose trauma seeing her mother being labeled as “mad” and taken to fakir babas for so-called cure and then later on forcefully admitted in mental institution that people commonly call as “paagalkhana”. Later on, she underwent post-partum depression after the death of her newborn. And when her daughter was born 6 years later, she lived with the “lingering” fear of losing her. All these fear not only embodied her but made her to do something and hence Bapu Trust was born.
In 1999, Bhargavi started the Bapu Trust for Research on Mind and Discourse, Pune, India, to give public vision and visibility to user/survivor-centred mental health advocacy. She is a front runner in regional and national level campaigns for human rights in mental health, particularly raising a call to abolish oppressive laws and institutions.
She is a trainer in mental health advocacy and runs a yearly course on gender and mental health in India for the development sector.