9 Powerful Indian Female Voices Breaking Taboo Surrounding Mental Health Issues

By: Navya

Despite the developments, India still views mental health as a taboo concept. This age-old stigma is finally receiving strong backlash from new-age voices. On the occasion of world Suicide Prevention Day WomenEntrepreneurIndia brings to you 9 Powerful Indian women who are breaking tataboosurrounding mental health issues.

Mental disorders are illnesses marked by a significant dysfunction in a person's thoughts, feelings, or behaviour. The psychological, biological, or developmental processes that underlie mental functioning are disturbed as a result. These are not regarded as being a normal part of cultural development.

Unfortunately, no one in our society ever tells someone, "It's just mental illness, get over it." Because the term "mental disorder" carries a stigma, people with mental illnesses are embarrassed to discuss their illness in any detail.

Although mental illness itself is not shameful, the stigma is. Sadly, stigma exacerbates the situation of those who are mentally ill. Additionally, when it comes to mental health, it is still more typical in rural India for people to take that person to faith healers or temples rather than to medical professionals like psychologists or psychiatrists.

A person with a mental illness who experiences self-stigma has internalised prejudice and discrimination. Members of society may play a key role in decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health by following a few simple measures.  In an effort to educate people and lessen stigma surrounding mental illness, these ladies are tearing down mental illness taboos in their own unique ways.

Neerja Birla

The founder of Mpower, Neerja Birla, discusses the need for a shift in how people see mental health.

Her brainchild, Mpower, is devoted to changing people's perceptions of mental health for the better. She has a strong commitment to mental health, education, and children.

Mpower envisions a world in which everyone has access to the mental health care they require to promote recovery, free from stigma or prejudice, while also bringing about change in public life and policy.

Mpower's aim is to provide world-class holistic therapies, raise awareness of mental health illnesses, reduce stigma, advocate for prevention, and educate people with these disorders and their families so they can live fulfilling lives with respect and dignity.

Divija Bhasin, Mental Health Infleuncer

A young psychologist named DivijaBhasin uses Instagram to tell people and raise awareness of mental health issues. She graduated with a master's degree in psychology from the University of Bath England.  She began her online experience by posting videos on TikTok, then finally made the switch to Instagram, where she now posts educational videos by making them entertaining and approachable. Divija excels in creating relatable content, enlightening viewers on many subjects, and still managing to make it entertaining to watch. Her writing is distinctive, engaging for a variety of readers, and trustworthy.

Deepika Padukone

DeepikaPadukone is one of the public figures who speaks out the most about mental illness. She not only shares her struggles on social media, but she also established the Live Love Laugh Foundation to support those dealing with mental illness without having to worry about the stigma attached to the ailment. She discusses how she attributed her anxiety and despair to stress. While doing so temporarily made her problem go away, she soon broke and began to have frequent episodes of anxiety or sadness. She always advises those who are experiencing such problems to get help because they cannot be ignored.

Shaheen Bhatt, author, I've Never Been (Un)Happier

At the age of 18, Shaheen had been experiencing symptoms of depression for five years before receiving a diagnosis. She describes one of the most severe and often misunderstood mental disorders of the twenty-first century, as well as the daily struggles she faced, in this great novel. Shaheen walks us through the personal journey of recognising and dealing with depression in her privileged circumstances, which is equal parts riddle and illumination. Shaheen claims her pain and places it in the fabric of the common human predicament with honesty and a deep sense of self.

Shaheen admits, accepts, and overcame the idiosyncrasies of living with depression in this multifaceted, philosophical tell-all. I've Never Been (Un)Happier, a topic of enormous importance to anyone with mental health concerns, gently extends a hand to provide consolation and sympathy.

Richa Singh, Co-Founder & CEO, YourDost

Richa has always been drawn to difficult tasks and is prepared to deal with challenging issues. She enjoys offering clear, elegant solutions to difficult challenges. Her work with web-based solutions spans a wide range of industries, including social media intelligence, analytics, finance, human resource management, counselling, and enterprise resource planning. She began her career as a summer intern after earning her Bachelor of Design in interaction design. She accumulated enough experience to move up the success ladder gradually and steadily.

Over time, though, the thought of starting her own business came to her as a result of her desire to develop strategies for social improvement. She learned about the concept of creating a network of support for those who are dealing with stress. This is where YourDost emerged as a leader. Users can anonymously get assistance from psychologists and other qualified professionals through this option for emotional wellbeing.

Garima Juneja, Founder, LightRoom

Garima’s experience as a psychotherapist inspired her to found Lightroom Therapy, a mental health firm.

In 2020, Garima founded Lightroom in her birthplace of Chandigarh. She claims the term "Lightroom" was chosen as a metaphor for bringing light into her patients' life after they had experienced a period of darkness and upheaval.

Lightroom isn't a real room per such; rather, it's more about the mental condition that is clarified through online or in-person treatment sessions.

She continues by saying that people will benefit much from practising mindfulness while focusing on deep breathing. They can unwind by picking up a pastime, engaging in a creative endeavour, or engaging in physical activity.

Anna Chandy, Chairperson, The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF)

Anna, who was born into a chaotic home and experienced early sexual abuse, has overcome her prior struggles in order to write a new chapter in her life.

She has shed the various layers of being a people-pleaser, the ideal housewife, and a Stepford wife via her path of treatment and training to be a counsellor, reclaiming her identity as an individual, as Anna. Anna currently works in a variety of capacities as a therapist, coach, speaker, and trainer. She has 25 years of experience. She also serves as the Live Love Laugh Foundation's board chair (TLLLF).

Many people were moved by Anna's first book, "Battles in the Mind," which was an open, honest description of her journey through difficult times.

Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar, Founder of Sneha, WHO Consultant &Researcher

The founder of SNEHA, an NGO in Chennai dedicated to suicide prevention, is Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar. She is the head of the psychiatry department at the Adyar Voluntary Health Services in Chennai. The W.H.O.'s International Network for Suicide Research and Prevention counts her as a member. She holds an honorary associate professorship at the Australian university of Melbourne. Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych) of the United Kingdom has been awarded to her for her efforts to prevent suicide, as well as receiving the FRCP designation (EDIN). IASP presented her with the Ringel Service Prize.

She has written numerous chapters, edited two volumes, and published frequently in peer-reviewed journals. Her skills and area of interest include creating suicide prevention community interventions that are affordable.