The Department of Psychology organized an Intervention as the first major event of the Mental Health Awareness Week, 2015 on 15th September, 2015. The aim of the session was to spread awareness about mental health to a large number of people. The session was attended by over hundred students from colleges across the University of Delhi as well as a large number of students belonged to Bluebells International School.
The audience was welcomed by Dr. Kanika K. Ahuja, an Associate Professor of the Department of Psychology at LSR, who moderated the session. The audience went through certain formalities before filling up a survey form and a questionnaire aiming to assess their perceptions about mental health. Then, the third year students of the Department presented a dance-drama. It was a mime act capturing and expressing the spectrum of experiences that a person with a mental disorder has to undergo. The act ended with an audio aided PowerPoint presentation breaking certain myths which usually surround metal disorders, like ‘people with mental disorders are violent and dangerous’, ‘nothing could be done to help them’ and others.
The performance was followed by a small presentation by Dr. Ahuja where she spoke about the never ending debates surrounding mental health such as what is normal and what is abnormal, various Indian stats regarding mental health were presented which received a reaction of utter surprise and disbelief from the audience as they found it hard to accept the real picture of the prevalence and future of mental disorders in India. It was followed by showcasing a list of people who have lived with mental disorders and succeeded in their respective fields like famous footballer David Beckham who was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Indian actress Deepika Padukone who had been quite vocal of her journey after being diagnosed with depression recently. The presentation ended with a brief on how to help your loved ones while they are going through a hard phase in their lives.
Following that, Dr. Ahuja introduced the audience to the next speaker, a young gentleman, who spoke of his journey of living with bipolar disorder, with which he was diagnosed few years ago. The speaker wished to maintain anonymity but was very candid in sharing his experiences. He spoke of the time when the signs of the illness first emerged, although at that time he did not know what was going on inside of him. Various struggles then ensued which finally led him to receiving the assistance of a very supportive psychiatrist. It was only after this, that the mental illness was diagnosed. The speaker shared how he has reached the present point in his life and mentioned how he is proud of himself today as he was able to realize that “we are people beyond the problems we have”. His takeaway message for the audience was to accept the diagnosis and accept the reactions that other people might give you and let not that hamper with your process of recovery.
The session ended with a thank you note by the President of the Department and the audience was asked to fill certain post-intervention survey forms and questionnaires. On being asked about her experience, Aakanksha, a 3rd year student from LSR, she says, “It was an interesting event though the duration was quite long but I really like the dance –drama and the speaker’s talk”. Sumaiya, a 3rd year student who was a part of the dance –drama says, “It feels really good to perform when you know it’s for a purpose, a good cause that people might take back home with them”.
It is hoped that the session was able to successfully deliver the larger aim of the MHAW’15 which is to go beyond the walls of our college and make others aware too.
Reported By – Charul Katiyar
Photo Credits: Akshita Negi