The brain is the most significant part of human body and just like other organs, the brain can have an impairment. In spite of this reality, we wonder why there is a discomfort, shame, and stigma around acknowledging the existence of mental illness for own self or for someone close to us? Do we ever come out of this self-stigma, shame, and discomfort to share the stories of our own journey of recovery?
MEHAR is an outcome of our passion for two very important aspects of our lives; Mental Health and Art. MEHAR believes that art is an effective medium which allows knowledge, awareness, and education to be transferred in an impactful and cathartic manner. Through various artistic performances, MEHAR will accomplish a twofold objective: that of nurturing the connection between art and well-being, and increasing awareness around mental and emotional health, a topic that is often overshadowed and underrepresented despite its importance to humanity.
MEHAR is not an organization providing counseling and support to mental health patients or to promote awareness about various mental health issues in traditional educational forms. MEHAR is an organization that generates awareness and education around mental and emotional health issues by presenting them through artistic performances, mostly in the languages spoken/understood by immigrant population in Canada.
Meet the Team
MEHAR is a registered nonprofit organization in Ontario. It is managed by a volunteer board of directors. The current board comprises of 5 members from different professional backgrounds. They contribute their time, knowledge and professional expertise in the areas of administration, programming, business development, creative writing, art direction, music, knowledge of mental health, resource management and community outreach.
1. Rekha Vaishnav, M.S.W. , R.S.W. (President)
Rekha has over 15 years of professional experience in community mental health. She is actively engaged in the community and organizes various kinds of art, mental health awareness and musical events. She is a founder of MEHAR and has led all past projects of MEHAR. She has written and produced MEHAR’s first theatrical performance: “I Am Still Me” and developed “Poetic Reflections” to promote mental health awareness through medium of poetry.
2. Leena Deodhare (Treasurer)
Leena has been involved with MEHAR since its early days. Her interests and knowledge are in the area of dance and drama. She has contributed to many non-profits and charitable organizations in various capacities in North America and India. She brings immense experience in organizing theater, performing art and dance events. She directs MEHAR theater projects and also acts in plays.
3. Darshak Vaishnav, M.S.W. , R.S.W.(Secretary)
Darshak works as an Employment Specialist with municipal government. He has over 20 years of experience in employment services, job development and human resources. He also has extensive experience working with new immigrants and refugees, and people with diverse needs. He is an established singer and performs in musical concerts. His musical and artistic talent is an asset to MEHAR.
4. Dr. Sameera Ghaznavi (Director)
Dr. Ghaznavi is a family physician who practices in Oakville, Ontario. Sameera Graduated from University of Alberta, Edmonton and has done her residency at McMaster University. She has been practicing for over 30 years doing full scope of family medicine, including mental health. She also practices Age Management which focuses on prevention and the natural treatment of both physical and mental health problems. She helps MEHAR to create a linkage with experts in health topics.
5. Ajay Puri, B. Com. , CPA-CMA (Director)
Ajay is a Certified Professional Accountant and brings over 35 years of financial & management expertise to the board. He is involved in the financial and business planning aspects of MEHAR. He has also involved with Scarborough Health Network (SHN) and volunteers his time as Spiritual Care Volunteer.
1. Anil Shah
President , Ni-Met Metals and Minerals Inc.,
Founder & CEO, Ni-Met Metals Inc.
Founder & CEO, Ni-Met Home & Garden Prod Inc.
2. Hans Dhingra RE/MAX Crossroads Realty Inc.
3. Hitesh and Niketa Jhaveri , Owner OSMI Homes
4. Gaurang Dhebar , Graphic Designer.
5. Abhijit Dalvi, Print2Go
6. Rohit and Neetika Sathe
7. Shabbir Somji
8. Dr. Sanjeev Deodhare
9. Vijay Shirodkar
10. Kumar Mohile
11. Kamal Bhatia
12. Prem Tewari
13. Shunnu Kaushik
14. Srinand Desai
15. Dr. Archana Bapat, Psychiatrist
16. Piyush Shukla , Pharmacist