The Mental Health Institute 2018 – Day 1
MUMBAI — In this moneymaking world where everything can be monetised, human beings have begun to focus much more on keeping ourselves fit to stay on top of our daily routines. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, physical health is the only thing that matters, and mental health takes a backseat. We are bringing it back to the forefront.
One Future Collective, De Sousa Foundation, and the Psychiatry Department of Lok Manya Tilak Government Hospital, Mumbai organised a 4 day, 25 hour event: The Mental Health Institute, running over two weekends in December 2018.
On day one, a group of 30 students and professionals from diverse fields discussed what mental health is and how one can maintain their mental health. Pragya Lodha, a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor at Nanavati College, Mumbai introduced the students and briefed them about the definition of mental health, on what it means to be mentally strong, how one’s weakness can be their strengths by giving a new angle to it. Participants raised questions on how far a trauma can stay, what should one do about it, what opportunities lie in the field and what is the current trend of practice.
Richa Vashista, a mental health professional specialising in addressing issues on sexual orientation and gender identity, discussed the basic concepts related to sexual orientation, asking participants to give their own definitions of terms used in everyday language. It was an interactive, curious group keen on understanding the fundamentals of mental health.
It is often seen that due to an overload of work and responsibilities, one often has mood swings and temperamental issues which act as a hindrance in one’s daily life activities. These lead to either hurting a loved one or to poor social interaction. Dr. Hozefa Bhinderwala, a psychiatrist consulting at Global Hospital, Saifee Hospital and Prince Aly Khan Hospital mentored the participants on Anger Management. He engaged us with stories of sages and enlightenment and how expression of anger is a choice, not a reflex. He shared one of his experiences where he realised that when one is angry, enough is conveyed with or without saying anything. In response to a question on whether being angry is one’s nature, and if so, what can we do about it, he smiled and said, “Habits can be changed. That habits stay same is an extremely incorrect, it is a myth. Habits die when properly killed.”
Participants were asked for feedback after the first day. They told us that they appreciated the kind of discussions taking place within the cohort, and were looking forward to the rest.
Dhanshree Waghmare is a volunteer at the De Sousa Foundation.