New Delhi: ADRA India in partnership with V4A Cycling & Running Club hosted a 30-km Cyclothon on October 09, 2022 to commemorate World Mental Health Day. Around 30 participants from all walks of life rallied for the cause.

The Cyclothon was followed by an interactive session by Carl Wilkens, Humanitarian Aid Worker, Storyteller and International Speaker. Carl Wilkens chose to serve in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide. He chronicles his journey in the book ‘I’m Not Leaving’. Carl Wilkens has also been featured in documentaries for his work in Rwanda.

Wilkens shared his experiences while living in Rwanda during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. He talked about how Rwanda rebuilt and reinvented itself after the genocide. “Rwanda’s experience has really inspired me to examine how the brain works. It’s hard to understand how a neighbour could kill neighbour and perhaps more difficult is to rebuild trust after something so terrible as genocide. Neural plasticity says that we can change our brain simply by the choices we make. Simple practices such as keeping a gratitude journal can move us in a direction of healing,” he said.

“On behalf of my Cycling & Running group, I am thankful to ADRA India for organizing Carl’s talk on the occasion of World Mental Health Day. I found it so aligned to our goal of being mentally fit and de-stressed by rewiring our brain and positively orienting it though group fitness activities. I hope the Cyclothon will not only create awareness about the important topic but the participants will also inculcate these learning in their lives,” said Syed Asim, Founder, V4A Cycling & Running Club, Delhi.


“We should aspire to apply lessons from the past to our modern way of thinking and learn to love in a more complete way. Thinking in this new way will improve our complete mental health,” said Weston Davis, Country Director, ADRA India after the talk.

World Mental Health Day is observed every year on October 10 to raise awareness on mental health issues and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. This year, World Health Organization (WHO) is campaigning on the theme ‘Make mental health for all a global priority’.

A study on mental health burden in India conducted in 2017 revealed that one in seven Indians were affected by mental disorders of varying severity. As per the study, in 2017, 197.3 million people had mental disorders in India, including 45.7 million with depressive disorders and 44.9 million with anxiety disorders. Despite the high prevalence of mental health problems in India, the issue remains a taboo due to lack of awareness. People facing mental health problems also face societal discrimination, which leads to them not talking about their problems or seeking professional help.

The burden of mental health diseases and issues has seen a further rise since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. The pandemic has been challenging for people due to several reasons such as the loss of loved ones, loss of employment and income, isolation, increase in domestic violence, etc.

ADRA India is working with the tea garden communities of Assam to provide psycho-social support and counselling to the marginalized people dealing with the stress and aftermath of COVID-19.

Adventist Development & Relief Agency (ADRA) India is a development and humanitarian organization. ADRA has been reaching out to the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in the country for over thirty years. ADRA India is part of ADRA International’s global network, which implements relief and development programming in over 118 countries. ADRA India focuses on key developmental aspects like healthcare, education, livelihoods, humanitarian and emergency response, and protection of vulnerable groups. To learn more, visit our website