Imagine if the Earth’s gravitational force being taken away from its surface. If that happens then what will result is chaos and dis-orientation of life on Earth. The same applies to the human survival too. The mind is like the gravitational force that keeps the functioning of the body in sync with the internal and external world around us. The blood, nerves, the vital organs and the 5 external sense organs are the ‘hardware’ of the body & the mind is the ‘software’ that commands the hardware to ‘purposefully’ function. The physiological self doesn’t know what is favourable or unfavourable for the body, it just obeys the mind’s command. eg. If the mind wants to smoke, the hands the legs and the sense organs which are mere slaves to the mind, will make arrangements that will result into smoking. The lips will hold the cigarette & the lungs will suck in the nicotine, totally oblivious to the adverse consequences of chronic smoking habit.
Point is that it’s the mind that does the decision making and drives the body. If the mind is well managed then its repercussions will be seen on the management of the physical body too. Thus, besides managing one’s physical health its very important to manage mental health too for a holistic life satisfaction and general well-being. Unfortunately, even the health care policies (government, workplace and insurance sector) in India and abroad, still are giving more emphasis to provide compensation for physical issues and giving little or no heed to the serious matters of the mind.
This year on World Mental Health Day, i.e. 10th October my organization- Mind Matterz ( A Psychological Guidance Unit) & its training wing ‘School of Emotional Intelligence’ (SEI) took an account of our journey to help people in managing mental health, since we started in the year 2006. Over the years, besides doing individual and group counselling, we have created mental health related awareness along with professional consultation and training offered to institutions & corporates too. In 2010, a leading Mumbai based Media school-SoundIdeaz Academy www.soundideazacademy.com has tied up with us for training their students on Personality Development topics. With a vision that, just like basic Math, Physic, Chemistry has become a part of everyone’s common sense, I wish fundamentals of Psychology too should be a part of the common sense of masses. For that SEI has designed short term Certificate Courses (offline/online) in Emotion Management (Anger, Fear, Happiness Management) Relationship Management, Assertiveness Management, Loneliness Management, Stress Management etc. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mindmatterz/
We feel proud that we are positively contributing in whatever way we can to be resourceful in lifting the standards of mental health care in India. But we also believe that one person or one organization is not enough to bring about a positive change. For that more like minded people, institutions and organizations need to take initiatives to spread the importance of mental health care. For more information email email@example.com
This year a lot of events were organized in Mumbai to commemorate the 25th year celebration of WHO declared World Mental Health Day. I chose to attend a National level seminar organized by P.D. Hinduja College of Nursing (HCON), Andheri, Mumbai. The seminar was sponsored by Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi. The topic of the seminar was ‘Suicide among Medical Professionals: Cocktail of Social Competency, Hormonal Imbalance or Stress’. Eminent Psychiatrists of Mumbai Dr. Kersi Chawda, Dr. Avinash De’sousa & Dr. Malay Dave shared their thoughts on why the suicide rates among Healthcare professionals are increasing and discussed the possible interventions in cutting down on the ever- increasing suicide statistics in India. Prof. Chanu Bhattacharya, Vice Principal of Dr. V.V Patil INE, Ahmednagar, B.K Rupa Upadhye’ji, Nursing Superintendent, Global Hospital, Mount Abu and Mr Johnson Thomas, Director, Aasra Crisis Intervention Centre & Suicide Helpline (http://www.aasra.info/) too were key speakers at the seminar, who shared quality research and personal experiences pertaining to the topic.
The seminar covered topics related to neurobiology of suicide, Substance abuse and suicide among healthcare professions and about Suicidal risk and assessment strategies. Besides this the HCON students performed a role play session in which a case study of a medical student attempting suicide was shown and emphasised on the fact that how preventing suicide is absolutely possible. The college also announced the winners of the e-posters and short film competition which aptly covered the essence of the topic of Suicide among Healthcare professionals.
The most highlighting points which the speakers mentioned in their respective talks were:
- Depression is the major cause of Suicide in people.
- The hype and anxieties related to the pro-suicide internet game-‘Blue Whale’ too was discussed. The notorious virtual game which commands the game player to self-harm himself/herself, has indirectly killed 130 individuals world-wide since 2014 and is no more available on the internet now. Emotional vulnerability, low self-esteem levels among kids, adolescent and youth may be a major reason to fall prey to cyber-bullying games like ‘Blue Whale’.
- Negative emotions need to be timely expressed to one’s empathetic and non-judgemental social contact person/counselor.
I would want to thank the organizing committee of P.D Hinduja College of Nursing, who organized this content-rich seminar. When the leadership is strong the team too contributes with smiles. The leadership of HCON Principal Prof. Dr. Jaya Kuruvilla & Vice-Principal Prof. Wilma Valsalan and support by the teaching staff (Ms Pooja Nair, Ms Jacintha Fernandes, Prof Shubhangi Pangam, Jane, Preeti Manezes) along with student participation made the event a huge success. In the presence of Hinduja Hospital trustee Mrs. Usha. S Raheja and CEO Gautam Khanna, a certificate course program got virtually inaugurated. The course aims to teach ‘counselling skills to teachers who have to handle Adolescents’. It was nice to know that one’s peers too are contributing in promoting Psychology education and I wish them all the best in achieving their objectives. Here is the video which shows glimpses of the event with participants feedback: https://youtu.be/xxOr6UdD3g4
As I reflected on the content of the seminar, I realized that being a healthcare professional myself, I too am a human being and its important to maintain a healthy work-life balance (which I already am practicing) inorder to avoid ‘stress burnout’ & thereby sincerely be at service to the one’s who need my help.
Suicide is not a solution to life’s problems. Like the body needs blood to survive, the mind needs ‘hope’ to purposefully live. Just the way cough and cold is sorted by visiting a physician, I urge the masses to feel free to visit a Psychologist/Psychiatrist/Counselor if they have mind related issues. Its high time that the stigma associated with approaching mental health professionals needs to be wiped out.
As I sign off, I would like to quote Rabindranath Tagore’s poem here:
““Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high,
where knowledge is free.
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection.
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it’s way
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.
Where the mind is led forward by thee
into ever widening thought and action.
In to that heaven of freedom, my father,
LET MY COUNTRY AWAKE!”
May India and the world awake and realize the fact that mental health needs to be taken care of equally, as one takes care of one’s physical health. Amen!
Role play performed by students of HCON on Suicide Prevention.
*Special thanks to Preeti Maria Menezes to have informed me about the seminar and promptly providing me with the photographs of the event.
Photo courtesy: Media team of P.D Hinduja College Of Nursing, Andheri, Mumbai & Shraddha Sankulkar