Dr. Nandini Murali

Vice President, Learning & Research

Company: Avtar Group
Role: Session Presenter

2022 Conference Session: Language Matters: Inclusive Language at the Workplace (S5-A)

Nandini Murali, PhD, is a certified life coach, suicide prevention and mental health activist, author, and communications, gender and diversity professional. Currently vice president for Learning & Research at Avtar Group, she has a doctorate in gender studies, two postgraduate degrees each in English and psychology, a diploma in journalism, and advanced degrees in teaching English as a foreign language from the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad, India.

Nandini has more than two decades of experience in health journalism as an independent journalist. She has nearly 30 years of experience in the development sector in the areas of communications, gender, sexuality, masculinities, and mental health. Her areas of professional interests include communications, mental health, sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), gender, masculinities, gender-based violence (GBV), suicide prevention and postvention interventions for survivors of suicide loss.

She has worked with both national and international organizations in evaluation exercises, impact studies, case studies, process documents, and conducting training workshops in documentation and communication, mental health, well-being, suicide prevention, gender, and sexual and reproductive health rights. She has worked with diverse communities such as people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, vulnerable children, coastal communities, female sex workers, people with disabilities, differently gendered people, and sexual minorities. She developed a set of 12 life skills module for LGBTQIA+ youth and affirmative approaches to counseling LGBTQIA+ clients, a resource manual for counselors.

Dr. Murali’s lived experience of suicide loss inspired her to establish SPEAK (www.speakinitiative.org) an initiative of MS Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation in Madurai, India, to prevent suicide and promote mental health, and SPEAK2us (93754 93754), a mental health helpline.

SPEAK is an initiative to create safe supportive spaces for informed conversations on suicide and to promote mental health. Some of the core activities include awareness and sensitization of diverse stakeholders in suicide prevention, a mental health helpline for persons in psychological distress (SPEAK2us), early identification of persons at risk for suicide, treatment and intervention, postvention services and advocacy.

Based on Nandini’s lived experience of losing her husband to suicide, her book “Left Behind: Surviving Suicide Loss” has been recently published (Westland Publishers, February 2021). “Left Behind” is a memoir of the author’s journey through the wilderness of suicide grief and her transformation through the tragedy. A counter narrative to the dominant narrative of suicide, it reclaims the agency and power of those impacted to tell their stories on their terms and thereby reclaim their lives.

Nandini has written five books, including fiction and nonfiction, a collection of poetry on love, loss, and longing, and is currently working on two other books. A seeker on a sacred quest, her daily spiritual practices have enriched her personal space and her writerly life. Passionate about wildlife photography, Nandini loves to wander in the forests with her camera.


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