“It’s okay, not to be okay!”
~ Is the mic working?
Friday, September 16, 2022,
Dr. Pillai Global Academy, New Panvel
The growing and infectious stigma against mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and the lack of awareness about them highlighted the importance of mental health education. One of the major reasons for the initiative on mental health is stated by our school’s psychology teacher, Ms. Niharika Mehta, who is also a certified counselling psychologist, “Mental health is equally, if not more important than physical health so don’t wait till you reach the rock-bottom. If something is happening, please reach out for help. Do not self-diagnose! If you are physically unwell, you wouldn’t delay treatment till it’s time for surgery… right? So why wait and neglect your mental wellness?”
Since it affects every aspect of our life, the importance of good mental health ripples into everything we do, think, or say. Focusing on mental health may boost productivity, improve our self-perception and strengthen our bonds with others. Unfortunately, there is often a conventional amount of stigma associated with anything pertaining to mental health, therefore, the psychology students of Dr. Pillai Global Academy came up with “Metanoia: Journey to change one’s mind!”
Metanoia was an interactive initiative and discussion organized for grades 9th to 12th, to destigmatize mental health issues at this age and let the students know that it’s completely fine to ask for help. The psychology campaign was conducted at Dr. Pillai Global Academy, New Panvel. The psychology students of grades 11th and 12th planned and executed the event efficiently.
The campaign began with the psychology students presenting a video that consisted of various anonymous audio clips of our school students answering multiple questions about the misconceptions around this topic and why it is important!
The main event took place in the hall on the sixth floor and commenced with our sublime hosts, Ashlesha Tiwari (IBDP-2) and Vaidehi Patil (IBDP-2) gracing the stage and addressing the gathering. This was followed by students getting the opportunity to visit stalls for Anxiety, Depression, Academic Pressure, and Body-image issues.
The stalls were mainly informative regarding the descriptions, symptoms, do’s and don’ts and treatments by calling helplines. The purpose of the event was to make sure students refrain from self-diagnosis and ask for help before it is too late. The Anxiety stall was headed by Ashna Sharma (IB 1), Advika Yadav (IB 1) and Yash Vijay (IB 2). The Depression stall was headed by Vaidehi Patil (IB 2), Rehya Banthia (IB 1) and Mrigesh Marri (IB 2). The Academic Stress stall was held by Aroudra Thakur (IB 2), Harshavardhan Reddy(IB 1), Siddhant Doiphode (IB 1) and Paras Katekar (IB2). Body Image Issues was held by Madhu Mithra (A levels), Payal Ajgaonkar (A levels), Aakruti Singh (AS levels) and Kartika Naryanan (AS levels).
It was inspiring to watch them speak so passionately giving such accurate descriptions of each disorder explaining it patiently to grades 9 and 10 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and grades 11 and 12 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. They also encouraged and suggested many self-care activities through an exciting bingo! Ms. Niharika Mehta was nurturing and supportive of the students and their ideas throughout the event. We’re also incredibly grateful to our principal, Ms. Shraddha Sardesai and our vice principal, Mr. Prakash Nair for this great opportunity that made us feel more open-minded and helped us think broader!
It was truly a great visual to watch mental health gain its deserved respect and significance. It made the students feel seen, heard and less alone making them more comprehensive of such issues in their personal lives. By the end of the day, all students wouldn’t be lying if they said that they had reinstilled faith in the quote, “There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t,” by John Green.
Author: Aarju Kar,