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"Being a Mental Health Warrior"

Ms. Kavita Sarvesh Sunday, January 30, 2022
"Being a Mental Health Warrior"

“Mental health is not a destination it is a journey of winning over our negative spiral".

Mental health has become a priority today, especially in the context of the present crisis of pandemic. Lockdowns, curfews, social distancing are becoming the norm of today. In this light every individual seems to be living in a virtual bubble where real in-person meetings appear so hypothetical. The whole atmosphere is tinted with grief, fear, uncertainty and isolation. The relationships among people world over, are losing their warmth. People are scared of meeting others and governments have banned social gatherings. It seems to miss the connection that people once used to share.

But despite of these challenges, India reflects an entirely different picture. And that is the reason which makes me proud of my country - India. The philosophy of "Vasudeva Kutumbakam" meaning One World-One family, is the basis of collective action that we propagate. On one hand where we see people panicking due to lockdowns and closures, on the other hand, there were COVID Warriors who took informal charge of the system.

Apart from the medical staff, there were Teachers, Counsellors, Social Workers and Philanthropists who all took it as their personal responsibility to combat against the pandemic evils.

Maintaining health is a real challenge and it is not just physical health that I am talking about. Mental health today has become equally important. Pandemic seems to rob people of their sanity and mental soundness. Panic, confusion, infodemic, isolation is adding on to the pressures that masses are facing today.

Being a Psychologist and Counsellor, I can vouch for the kind of work Mental Health Warriors world over, have done. Depression, Anxiety, Suicides, Emotional instability have become common day today terms. Every second person you come across is consumed by stress. Mental health Warriors in India organized helplines and teleconsultation services for people. Suddenly there was a boom of mental health webinars, talks and online conferences, all focused on uplifting the community morale and motivating people to hold one to the mental stability.

COVID was an unknown entity when it started and later resulted in loss of life at a massive level. It created a lot of panic among people at large. Similar situation arose in Kuwait when pandemic began at the end of 2019. As an Indian counsellor, I felt it as my moral responsibility to reach out to the people of Kuwait, at a personal level. Being affiliated to an Indian school, I personally contacted 650 parents in Kuwait and India via phone and video calls, giving them moral support and motivation to cope up with the given situation. For the students many short sessions were arranged as a part of engagement activities where we played online games like Ludo and chess and encouraged them to draw, color, craft and participate in gardening workshops along with some puppet shows and webinars for children on topics like "cyber safety", "healthy eating", "safe touch" and for parents on "Conscious parenting", "Understanding children" and "Mental health awareness". Apart from these live sessions, a YouTube channel for children was created where they could watch interesting informative videos on topics such as "anger management" or "how to handle the Worry monster". Many free teleconsultations were organized for people to seek help. And till now, weekly Voluntary Counselling services are offered at the Indian Embassy every Saturday especially for the Indian expatriates. This is my contribution to the mother Earth during the times of need. And this feeling of doing something good for my Indian brethren comes from the basic Indian values that I uphold of "Vasudeva Kutumbakam" because I believe this world is my family and I need to take care of them as a Mental Health Warrior.

Whether I live in India or anywhere else, I would always uphold and practice the values that I inherited being an Indian and that is "Service before Self".

Ms. Kavita Sarvesh, Psychologist (Member of Middle East Psychological Association), Member of Writers’ Forum, Kuwait

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Col Shankar
Monday, January 31, 2022
An excellent article that truly captures the Indian ethos and values . My salutations to all the COVID Warriors who are tirelessly serving the humanity.

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