With a goal to spread awareness among the children about mental health, as part of the Mental Health Awareness Week, the Department of Psychology, LSR organized a workshop in MCD Primary School, Zamrudpur and Kendriya Vidyalaya. The workshop aimed at helping young kids understand the concept of mental health and remove the stigma attached to it. It was conducted by Ms Ananya Tripathi, an alumni of LSR.
The workshop began with a game wherein the children of class 5th were asked to pass around a ball. The rules were simple- say the name of the person, pass the ball, say “thank you” and try not to hit the fan! A different version then followed and the students were asked to maintain eye contact while passing the ball around. Another activity was then conducted. This time, the students were asked to pass around a clap while saying “Ha!”
When the giggling and excitement settles down a little, Ms Ananya asked the students what according to them characterizes a physically fit person. Different responses poured out from the young minds. Some said “Someone who does yoga in the morning” while some responded with “Someone who is strong and eats healthy”. Other answers included things like someone who drinks milk or one who is good in studies and sports. The students were then asked “Who is mentally healthy?” The answers ranged from someone who eats fruits, is good in studies and is intelligent to someone who helps others. Ms Ananya then explained to the students that everyone knows what physically fit means but not all know about what is a healthy mental state.
She then picked out four students and took them out of the class while the others were divided into four groups and each group was given a paper. The names of the four students were changed and each was to portray a different individual. The class was told that the four students will be asked certain questions and they are to discuss and write down the reasons for the same. Even though they were a little confused, they seemed excited about the task. “Are you happy to come to school?” All of the four kids said yes and everyone tried to pen down a reason as to why. When asked about if they like to go back home, one said no and the class tried to think a reason for such a response. The final question asked was if all of them felt happy whenever they got something new and all except one said yes. The class was then asked who they thought out of the four was mentally the healthiest. The four students then explained the lives of their characters and one could make out the contrast in the situations of all four which influenced their mental health.
To wrap things up, Ms Ananya tried to explain to the students what mental health is. She told them that the mentally healthy people share their problems and try to accept things happening in their lives. She tried to tell them the importance of social support and how helpful it could be for someone who needs it. The students were asked to help their friends, listen to them, accept people as they are and try to help people mentally by being there for them.
The workshop came to an end with the students being asked to write down some experience in their life wherein they were told that a particular behavior was abnormal and crazy but which they later realized is absolutely normal. The young minds went down the memory lane and wrote down their experiences. The smiling faces then waved us goodbye with a new insight about mental health burning bright in their minds.
Reported By – Akshita Negi
Photo Credits: Harshita and Aarti