WHAT IS MENTAL AWARENESS WEEK?
16th to 22th of May each year is observed at Mental Health Awareness Week to encourage people to take responsibility for the prevention of mental health issues during times of personal challenge and stress.
WHAT DID WE DO?
Poddar Foundation led by Dr. Prakriti Poddar, took up the baton to bring Mental Health Awareness Week to Mumbai. The event, held at R City Mall, Ghatkopar started at 16th May 2016 and continued till 22th May 2016 where visitors to the mall were provided free counseling.
The theme of this year’s World Mental Awareness Week was ‘Relationships’ and thus, we focused on the topic by internalizing the theme and promting people to think about the qualtity of relationship they have with themselves.
Small Talk, Deep Talk, Bringing Counselling to your Mallstep’ where Poddar Foundation counselors encouraged mall visitors to talk to their counsellors created a huge impact. The counseling ranged from basic relationship counseling, educational counseling, vocational counselling to occupational counseling. Many minds were opened and many illusions were shattered.
The response for ‘small talk, deep talk’ was overwhelming as a total of 300 people came to take free counseling to help them find a quick fix to their day-to-day problems and returned with a hope and wave of motivation.
The last day ended with a streetplay act on Mental Health Awareness, where the entire mall collected.
WHY WE DID IT?
Currently there is a severe lack of awareness and information regarding various mental health issues. The silence around mental health issues perpetuates mental health disharmony.
In India the population between the ages of 15 to 29 years is at high risk of mental health issues and therefore we need to reach out to more people and engage with them on a lighter, yet meaningful platform.
The foundation has taken a formal decision to focus the ‘relationship drive’ on the relationship to the self. Therefore our interventions were focused on deep introspection and creation of paths to assist people in identifying solutions to their day-to-day problems. Additionallyt it was done to make aware themasses about the ease of opening up to a counselor and addressing debilating concerns.
Our play highlighted the increasing risk of mental health issues and break the up of families due to stress, anxiety and financial pressures.
Our week achieved eliminating the misconception that counseling is required only for those who are mentally disturbed as it helped everyone get better.
Some snippets of testimonials from a few of the 300 people came to take free counseling.
“ I had a very good counseling session with Poddar foundation at R city ( mall) and I had few questions regarding my troubling boss and its good to talk about what we are facing and then getting a clear picture on how to face that problem. I got a very good guidance from Prakriti Poddar that I need to know how to navigate that problem and how to handle the boss.”
“ There was an odd feeling about myself that was quite clearly mentioned and remedies were given by the counselor. I loved talking to him. I had a new experience. I will improve myself and surely improve others too.”
“It was a really nice experience. Many times people face difficulties in their day to day lives. They are stressed and they are not happy with their lives. So I think interacting with the people like counselors would help them. Sometimes it would just remind them to get back to their life and this 15-20 minute session will be of great help to a lot of people with problems.”