Updated: May 22, 2021
The month of May is celebrated as the Mental Health Awareness Month in many countries of the world. In the UK and in India, May 10-16 is celebrated as the Mental Health Awareness Week. In the
crisis situation that we all have landed in due to the ongoing pandemic, mental health awareness assumes all the more importance. To celebrate the Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, Glarepost joined hands with Kolkata-based EnVERT Foundation, Mumbai-based Aaken Advisory and Inspire Talks to organise a web-based Fireside chat on the topic 'COVID 19 and Mental Health: Maintaining Sanity and Managing Emotions'. It premiered on various YouTube channels at 9 pm on Sunday, the 16th of May 2021. Instead of making it a rather clinical or medical discussion the chat focussed more on the everyday experiences and learnings of common people in different walks of life and across various professions. The talk featured speakers from different professions and representing various generations, from a senior citizen engaged in counseling of COVID affected people and helping them restore normalcy in life to a successful professional speaking about her battle with depression and how she overcame it, a Class X student bringing her perspective of pros and cons of online classes and how she is keeping herself busy, and more importantly happy, to a corporate lawyer cum author cum entrepreneur sharing her views and suggestions on effective Mood Management to avoid feeling low during this time.
Ms Rupanjana De, a well known professional, being a Practicing Company Secretary, a qualified lawyer, an entrepreneur, an acclaimed writer of Law books and an Independent Director across multiple Boards of both listed and unlisted, government and private sector companies, was the first speaker. This time she talked more from the perspective of a Home Manager rather than a Professional. Sharing her own story and the story of many experiments that she has successfully done in this regard, she shared 15 tested ways of enhancing the feeling of positivity and managing the mood. She mentioned that these 15 points may be generally followed by anyone at any time, but these have special applicability in the current pandemic crisis. To provide a summary of the 15 points she mentioned, here they are in a nut shell: (i) exercising regularly, (ii) getting sufficient sleep, (iii) eating a balanced and healthy diet incorporating all nutrients, (iv) watching good movies or programmes on the TV to relax, (v) avoiding stress by doing whatever one likes to destress, (vi) expressing oneself openly with friends and family, (vii) playing a light music of choice (preferably not mournful or sad) at all times, (viii) using aromatherapy for mood lifting, (ix) spending time with one's hobbies, (x) laughing a lot and staying jovial, (xi) counting one's blessings by making a list of all the good things in life, (xii) reading some good books preferably with happy endings, (xiii) being kind to others, avoiding criticism, negative reaction and bullying on social media, (xiv) spending time with family, mending strained relations etc. and finally (xv) trying to avoid seeing WhatsApp forwards and biased media/news.
Mrs. Bina Thaker, a sexagenarian engaged in counseling of Covid-affected families shared her experience and threw light on how to use this time to strengthen the family bond in the current situation. She suggested that this can be done essentially by indulging in activities together, like creating a family tree, eating together, meditating together, organising meetings through zoom, or providing special support during the 13 days' ritual to family members of deceased person, if any.
The next speaker was 14-years-old Tannistha Nandi, a student of class X at Indus Valley World School in Kolkata. But she is much more than just that! Tannistha became the youngest novelist in India at the age of 10 when her first novel 'The Secret of the Goldbug Castle' was published in the end of 2016. She went on to write another novel, a sequel to this a year and half later. Thereafter she also won many awards in writing. Tannistha spoke about her experience with online classes, and as a student just about to appear in the Board exams next year, her views on how to handle the pressure. She talked about the pros and cons of the life that students of her age are living currently. She was thoroughly optimistic about the situation and stated that she is using the time to learn new things, read as many books as possible and unlock new talents. Her suggestion to the younger generation was to take it easy, and be optimistic about the situation and hopeful that like all bad phases of life, this too shall pass. But the learning from this crisis, she said, must never fade away.
Ms. Nehal Thaker, a successful Company Secretary and an Entrepreneur took the audience on a trip down her past as a person who was once a victim of depression. Her session was illuminating for people whose close relatives or friends have fallen prey to this mental illness. An extremely bright student, Nehal went into acute depression as a result of the first failure in her life. She elaborated on how early detection, help from right doctors, support of family and friends and colleagues can help a person survive this phase and lead a normal life and build a successful career. Ms. Thaker was quick to point out that self love is a tonic for the illness and that physical exercise is very important along with good hobbies.
Mr. Nikhil Jha Founder of Inspire Talks moderated the session and added his valuable inputs from time to time. Overall this event was liked by all and appreciated across various segments of viewers.