The key to living a holistic, functional, and fulfilling life is to be mentally healthy, regardless of your gender, age, or identity. As says the theme for this World Mental Health Day, “make mental health and well-being for all a global priority.”
Mental Health Day is celebrated worldwide, every year on October 10 since the year 1992. The goal of spreading awareness is to mobilize individuals, institutions, communities, and society towards the vision of “mental health and well-being for all.”
This World Mental Health Day, we organized a wellness session in partnership with Manah Wellness, India’s leading preventive mental health company. The session took place in the presence of our eminent speakers, who discussed everything about understanding the upcoming generation, building the bridge to overcome the communication gap, and encouraging the mental well-being of today’s youth.
The list of our honourable speakers from the session:
Shazil Ahmed, AVP – Customer Success, CollPoll (Moderator)
Shazil Ahmed holds 15+ years of rich experience in the Government and Private sectors covering strategic consulting, market research, business analysis, product development, and more. He was associated as the Registrar of the BEST Innovation University and is currently working as the AVP of Customer Success in CollPoll (an EdTech SaaS startup). He has an interest in advancing future education, innovation, and the mental health of people.
Prof. Ashok H.S., Professor & Dean, School of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences
With over 4 decades of experience as a Professor at Bangalore University, Prof. Ashok is a distinguished teacher, trainer, counsellor and researcher. His specialization is in Psychometric analysis, Counseling therapy, Research methodology and Indian psychology. As an honorary professor at CESS, Prof. Ashok led a project on Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Education.
Dr. Sakshi Vermani, Assistant Professor, Rishihood University
Dr. Sakshi Vermani holds 16 years of vast teaching experience with 13 years in a teacher education programme and 3 years of teaching in school. She specializes in philosophical and sociological perspectives in education, knowledge, and curriculum in B.Ed, guidance & counselling, and life skills, among others.
Richa Sharma, Counseling Psychologist, Manah Wellness
Richa Sharma is a mental health professional with over a decade of comprehensive experience. She also holds 12+ years of rich industry experience in music composition and production and has collaborated with renowned global artists in the music industry. She has also performed at some reputable platforms including the International Music Festival and Commonwealth Games, 2010.
Dhammaratna Jawale, Youth Lead Ambassador, Making Cents International
Dhammaratna Jawale is an emerging International Development Professional with a specialization in Media & Communication Research, Digital & Social Development and Higher Education sector. He is also a YouthLead Ambassador at Making Cents International. He has previously worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mass Communication and New Media at Tilak Maharashtra University, as a Production/Project Manager at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and has extensive media experience.
Manoj Chandran, Chief Executive Officer, White Swan Foundation
Manoj Chandran is the CEO of White Swan Foundation for Mental Health, a non-profit organization incorporated with the mission ‘to deliver knowledge services on mental health and wellbeing.’ He has carried out the necessary research on the mental health sector in India and the best practices in a few developed countries. He talks and writes about mental health!
How is Chanakya University, being a new-age university, addressing the mental health issues on campus?
When we talk in terms of mental health and well-being, we have seen some inspiring changes in the 21st century. The technological revolution has simplified work and has also made processes easier. People are usually so occupied with their work that they hardly get any time to care for themselves.
While after the pandemic, higher education institutions have moved to hybrid mode, people are more often suffering from stress and depression with no proper help/measures. I believe promoting the good mental health of youth is the need of the hour.
Also, the disconnect between parents and grandparents has resulted in a fragmented dynamic relationship and the stigma of seeking help leads to great emotional stress for young people. We should give room to children for expression either via music, dance, arts, or anything they love.
Moreover, academic strength is the most important component of mental well-being. So, at Chanakya University, we are trying to provide holistic development of learning to today’s youth!
– Prof. Ashok H.S.
In what ways is Rishihood University addressing mental health issues in youth, since it is one of the most cutting-edge universities?
Our physical growth always occurs when we are mentally fit. Mental health and well-being are very crucial today for the comprehensive growth of students. The development of our mental health starts in childhood and continues throughout our lives. So, it is important to focus on it from an early age.
The mental health and well-being of youth is a collaborative work of parents, teachers, and all the other stakeholders and fulfilling the generation gap with better communication is very essential today. So, building a safe culture at home might be a good start.
At Rishihood University, we inculcate the right education and prepare students to become SAGE (sensitized towards humanity) in the outer world. We conduct regular counselling sessions for students of all departments, faculty, and other stakeholders. This helps them cope with social, psychological, emotional, or mental issues that they might be facing in their lives.
– Dr. Sakshi Vermani
How can we prioritise the well-being of younger generations?
Having dealt with so many youths from around the world, we have realized that being digitally healthy has also become increasingly important. Just as our physical health is essential for our well-being, so is being digitally healthy.
We need to work at two levels: in the top-down approach, comprising scalable schemes and policies introduced by the government and the bottom-up approach. However, we should emphasize equally on both. We should help youth on an individual level and all the way to the community level for their development and should focus more on the power of one-to-one talk without any use of technology.
Today, we need to work for Intercultural & Inter-generational solidarity!
– Dhammaratna Jawale
What should be done to strengthen young adults’ well-being?
Way back in 2014, we worked to understand and enhance the mental well-being of college students. It’s then we got to know that almost 85-90% of students had never received any proper mental health assistance. While 10-15% of students received it after a prolonged delay. This made us realize that a lot of efforts had to be made in the right direction, to deal with arising mental health problems.
We should make students aware that their opinions matter and that they themselves play a very constructive role. Making them self-aware solves half of the problems!
Ensuring both physical and emotional safety is quite crucial, and we should look more into the skill areas of growth and development and avoid the over-burdening of social media content.
– Manoj Chandran
How can we look at the mental health of young professionals and what is an alternative to online gaming addiction?
Empowering the upcoming generation to be their best versions is very essential today. We have to be very empathetic and sensitive towards youth so that they don’t struggle with their appearance. Moreover, parents should create a healthy communication with children and involve more in their screen timing to make them digitally fit.
As far as online gaming, social media, and pornography addiction are considered, we should give children healthy alternative at an early age. Because addiction to anything is really damaging.
We must healthily direct our child’s passion and give them opportunities to identify their skills and validate their ideas, so, they do better in those fields.
– Richa Sharma
The session focused on how today’s youth play a crucial role in the modern world and how important it is to keep a check on their mental health and emphasize creating awareness for their well-being.
We are thankful to all the eminent speakers and the Manah Wellness team to organize such a fruitful and insightful discussion. Together, we can foster a culture of well-being to combat mental health issues and create a safe space for students, teachers, and other stakeholders!