Vandana Gopikumar has a Masters degree in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work from the Madras School of Social Work, Chennai. In 1993, soon after she finished her Master’s degree, she co-founded The Banyan with Vaishnavi Jayakumar.
Vandana is a well known mental health activist with various acclaims to her name. Together with Vaishnavi Jayakumar, Vandana was nominated as one of the 50 most influential people by India Today & The Week and has won the Rotary Paul Harris Award, the Government Sree Shakti Puraskar and the CII NIQR award amongst others.
In 2008, Vandana has published together with Dr. Nachiket Mor and Prof. Venugopal in Business Standard on Corporate Social Responsibility and is a contributor to various publications on mental health & social sector issues.
In 2007, Vandana co-founded The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM). Vandana is now engaged in the strategic expansion and direction of The Banyan & BALM to improve the quality of services in the mental health sector in India. In addition, Vandana is engaged in advocacy on various levels, including being an advisor to the Special Commission appointed by the Supreme Court on homelessness and a member of the Mental Health Policy Group constituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.