Dealing With Mental Health My Way

Today people are faced with the world which celebrate a culture of “Sink or swim”. Why don’t we celebrate an average individual ? Can’t we be imperfectly perfect?

People often relate their stress with their work and students with their studies, their hectic schedules and hard work. And that even relates to it, Right? But the problem is that they have stopped enjoying it and have got no interest left in their work. And this is because our society is structured in a way that places certain kinds of people in positions of privilege and power over others. In the name of equality, equity is denied to people. And this drags them to the race of making themselves better than others and that is where their personality ceases to grow and there lies the root cause of the problem.

Another thing is that term ‘Depression’ is being popularised by teens now a days lot. They have started relating mere tension of exams with anxiety and depression and therefore psychologically, our mind starts behaving that way . Here the problem was not some external factor but rather internal and the credit of this goes to lack of psychological literacy . They are not even educated of the ‘difference between stress and depression’, they take both as same and start teasing their friends calling that. And neither there is proper knowledge about consulting psychiatrist , may be because there are just 0·3 psychiatrists per 100,000 people in India.

One of the biggest problem in India is that our children are spoon fed upto their so called adult age ,18. And then eventually ,when they attain 18 , they rocket the missile of all sort of responsibilities on them, burdening them. You can even see that in society , we do not have part time jobs as in foreign for our children. And they are then even taunted by the name of a ‘X’ US child. And what worsens the situation is that Lack of support system . Lack of friendship between elders and youngsters. In India we even proudly celebrate that boundary b/w them. Here elders are supposed to show their stiff face to their Youngsters and that is why elders are least likely to be considered as a trusted source of help.

When you will go on asking people the reasons of mental health problems you will get number of them . Now here the problem is that even knowing reasons we are unable to tackle it , that is because you have not yet reached the root cause of it. It happens when one stops to be ‘Their own kind of beautiful’, when one ceases to realise one’s potential, interests and stops to perform on the ephemeral calls of others, that is the time when everything goes haywire . He loses his identity, personality and suffers from anxiety. And when they start lacking impulse control and healthy avenues to release stress then gradually, gradually… ensconce into dark-dim hellhole. Do you know what happens then he tries fighting back all that hogwash to bring back his real self, to foster his qualities and in this course he has to undergo mental trauma and he comes out of this pain either when, ‘He attains himself completely or loses himself completely’.

And sadly this happens because of the stigma associated with seeking psychiatrists help. They do not wanna talk about this since they think people will think of them as weak or as patient and unfortunately that’s even the truth somewhere. That is why it is utmost important to address this responsible , to make them most likely to seek help.
The basic reasons for giving importance to this topic: At basic and personal level , we are all human beings and we have emotions and an understanding of other’s problems and it is even our moral duty to have sense of understanding of other’s emotions. The lose of a child is the biggest for any parent.

And then if talk economically,to retain the HR for our country. We all know that for any country, especially for developing one, to enhance it’s productivity, skilled and physically and mentally healthy workforce is must. And to even lower the crime rate , for mental health problems are the common reason that pushes many people to do something they might know is wrong.

The ways this can be dealt:

People must first equip themselves with requisite skills to address mental health concerns. They must be trained to identify early signs, to have empathetic and non-judgemental conversations. In 2017, a survey by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) revealed that just one in six employees with mental illness said they felt comfortable disclosing their condition .HR must take it upon itself to promote open dialogue about mental health. This can be done by sharing relevant articles, posters and mails to create awareness, organizing mental health camps and inviting speakers to address employees. It is crucial to spread awareness about the benefits of communication and to take steps to dispel myths and negative perceptions about mental health and seeking help. In the words of Dr. Reuven Bar-on Empathy refers to- “Our ability to be aware of and understand how others feel. It is being sensitive to what, how and why people feel the way they do. Being empathetic is being able to “emotionally read” other people, which is the ability to pick up emotional cues. Empathetic people care about other people and show interest in them and concern for them; they express warmth and affection to others.” Therefore develop empathy for such people not sympathy.

Overall, I have just one liner solution which is subjective but quite useful. And that is, ‘Keep your life simple, don’t complicate’. Now there are many ways to explain this and ways to follow it. And if unfortunately you have become the victim then self motivation will work best and don’t forget to seek psychiatrists help since it’s no more the same stress.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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