The WHO defines mental health as a state of well-being which entails a person being able to realise his or her own abilities, cope with the normal stressors of life, work productively and make a contribution to his/her community.
Mental health and mental illness have been largely marginalised from public discourse in India. Hayes, Blashki, Wiseman, Burke and Reifels (2018) suggest that the marginalization of mental health in India reflects the global discourse, where, in comparison to physical health, mental health, in general, has been neglected. In fact, authors from the 2016 Lancet report on sustainable development and global mental health describe mental health as the “most neglected of all human health conditions.” In the case of India, the conspicuous absence of discussions around mental health and illness is alarming given the high incidence of serious mental disorders in the country. Statistics indicate that at least 6.5% of the Indian population suffers from serious mental health concerns. Recent reports also indicate India to be the most depressed country in the world.
Keeping this in mind, we at Manzil have organized various sessions around Mental Health. This year, four modules around the same were conducted in June-July 2019 which centred around questions like- ‘What is mental health?’, “What are the signs of good and poor mental health?’ and ‘Where and how should one seek help for mental health problems?’ Other issues covered include- healthy and unhealthy relationships, identification of one’s strengths and weaknesses, goal setting, forgiveness and gratitude. The sessions were organised by Vandana, a core team member and facilitated by a volunteer with a background in psychology, Megha.
All the sessions were interactive and activity-based wherein a safe space was created for participants to share their experiences. Motivational videos, stories and worksheets were used. The sessions were well received and a few points from the feedback received through participants of the same have been highlighted below: -
- Sessions made use of videos and PPT, thereby making them more interactive and interesting.
- Relevant examples were used in each session.
- The module helped participants break various stereotypes. For example, they were able to realise that disorders are not something that happens only to ‘mad’ people, but instead are conditions that can be experienced by anyone.
- One of the students in the session described the same as an ‘iridescent workshop,’ as he felt that the session allowed him to appreciate the multiple colours of life.
- Participants felt that the activity around strength and weakness allowed them to understand themselves more deeply.
Edited by Akansha, Volunteer, Manzil