2 Psychology Postgraduates on Mental Health amidst COVID

By: Visakha, Diamond

Published On: September 27, 2021

From popular influencers to layperson, conversations and discourses around mental health especially in times of worldwide crises have seeped into crowds, texts, media representations and so on. Films, skits, and even reels on social media today address anxiety, depression, and mental illnesses in an attempt to simplify and normalise such discussions. 

To understand mental health challenges amidst COVID, we at ImpactGuru spoke with two young postgraduates in the field of psychology and gained deeper insight into their experiences and outlook on working towards maintaining a healthy mental state. In today’s blog, we navigate through how immensely subjective psychological experiences are, the need to revisit and question our own thoughts as well as a candid conversation around the need for change in how we approach mental health and how to go about it. When asked about her opinion on crowdfunding in India for causes that aid mental and physical health, Ms Nafisa Diwan held the concept in high regard and called it a platform where “people rescue people''. 

Navigating mental health in India through the lens of two psychology graduates

Both Ms Nafisa Diwan and Ms Apurva Kejriwal are recent clinical psychology postgraduates. While Nafisa is currently working with children as a skills trainer, Apurva is an assistant child psychologist/shadow teacher for children with special needs. Both individuals are devoted to the science of the human mind and are motivated towards bringing about positive change in the field of mental health in society. 

Reflection on mental health pre COVID and post COVID

Nafisa and Apurva were vocally expressive about their struggles with regard to maintaining emotional stability and balance during the pandemic. Both stated that the initial stage of the pandemic may have posed a welcome hiatus from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but it soon entered a “dark and terrifying” terrain as time passed by and death tolls climbed high. 

Nafisa talked about how her anxiety and claustrophobia were triggered due to the lockdown situation, and how regular therapy has been helping her manage her mental state of mind. Apurva, too, shared her experiences dealing with the gloominess of complete isolation, and of having her family diagnosed with the virus and the toll it took on her mental health. It was therapy, she says, that helped her cope with the disarray in her mind. 

On eradication of stigma around mental health

Apurva pointed out the need for accurate, sensitive, and natural representations of mental illness in mainstream media. 

“When you watch someone like Alia Bhatt seek therapy in the film Dear Zindagi, it begins to inculcate the feeling that perhaps - especially if a megastar like her is choosing therapy - it is a good thing after all.”

  • Apurva Kejriwal, Child Psychologist, Insighte

Apurva talked about how media influence can mould the aam aadmi’s perceptions towards mental health. Representing mental illness and therapy in films can pave the way for the normalisation of the same in society as well. More normalisation gives way to more inclusion, and by the same token, Nafisa emphasised the need for inclusion of mental health in insurance coverage, to include mental health in the larger umbrella of health-related urgencies. 

“Treating physical illness is always considered as the more serious, more urgent need of the hour. If we start to prioritise mental help the same way we prioritise a physician’s help, we could work towards eradicating quite a lot of the stigma around the same.”

  • Nafisa Diwan, Skills Trainer, Cue Kids

The myth that psychology students/experts can perfectly manage their mental health

Nafisa acknowledged that as a student of psychology, she has access to resources and knowledge that can prove beneficial in understanding one’s behavioural patterns and attitudes. She believes that to a certain extent her in-depth learning of the human mind helps her manage her own mental health. 

“As a person of psychology, I find myself trying to understand another person’s actions through a more psychological lens. Instead of retaliating against the other person’s anger with my anger, I choose to understand the root of that anger, to understand where it is coming from”

  • Nafisa Diwan

On the other hand, Apurva addresses the myth by stating that theoretical knowledge is not always easily applicable to one’s own self. She addresses that it is far easier to apply her learnings to the person in front of her than it is to her own actions and behaviours. She also sheds light on the value of a strong support system. One’s mental illness can be coped with in a more wholesome manner if they know that their loved ones are with them.

Subjectivity exists within as well as outside the spectrum of the human mind. Every human being perceives, experiences, and reacts differently. The conversation with the two psychology graduates further demonstrates the same. Nafisa goes on to say that she is motivated to try education crowdfunding in particular in order to introduce accessible and affordable mental help for marginalised communities. “I want to make a difference and the way I see it, crowdfunding gives me the resources to achieve the same.”

Crowdfunding is the process of starting a fundraiser to raise funds with the power of kind and dedicated communities, for a cause close to one’s heart. It also helps donors from around the world to support any cause that resonates with them by sharing or donating towards it. To know more, visit ImpactGuru.