Friday, November 01, 2013

Celebrate, connect and grow

Happenings, Nov '13
Priyanka Bhaduri reports on an event to mark the ‘World Mental Health Day’ in Kolkata

Kolkata, October 10, 2013: The Centre for Counselling Services and Studies in Self Development (CCSSS), Jadavpur University organized a daylong event to observe the ‘World Mental Health Day’ on October 10, 2013 at the Subarna Jayanti Building in the university campus. The welcome address for the event, the central theme for which was ‘celebrate, connect and grow’, was given by Prof. Souvik Bhattacharya, Vice Chancellor, Jadavpur University.

Photo credit: CCSSS
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Sadhan Chakraborty, a member of the CCSSS faculty, said, “Our mind and body, both are integral parts of our being, but we discriminate between them. While the mind and body are closely connected, we treat physical discomfort immediately and ignore or get irritated with mental distress or illness.”

Prof. Sadhan Chakraborty added that there was a myth that mentally ill people could remove their illness if they wanted to. Mental discomfort or illness was also not something one was born with. He said, “While navigating the odds of life, some of us, if not all, sometimes get mentally disturbed and unwell. When this happens, we need respect and empathy to help us make a conscious effort to get better.”

The daylong event comprised of screening of film clips followed by audience interaction, poster display and games. The objective of the film clips was to engage the audience with mental health issues. Two film clips each from six popular films were shown – Abohoman, Ichhe, Life of Pi, Avatar, English Vinglish and Kahaani. The audience comprised of students and others from various walks of life.

The film clips were used to prompt certain feelings in the audience. This encouraged the audience to share memories and experiences, and this, in turn generated emotions among the listeners. The facilitation of emotions and the process of giving a meaning to them led to an appreciation of the emotions, which contributed to mutual bonding, collective sharing and individual growth. The entire process was explained by Prof. Sadhan Chakraborty and other facilitators as a demonstration of the process of counselling for mental health.

Photo credit: CCSSS
The posters on display communicated various issues of mental health. The themes included celebrating the state of well-being, concerns about problem areas, and how connection, support and growth can lead to coping and well-being. Teenage stress problems and coping strategies for the families and friends of the mentally ill were other key poster themes.

The objective of the games corner was to ensure an active participation by the visitors. Games with catchy names like Are You on the Anger Balloon? and Emotion Thermometer guided people in identifying their own emotions, understanding the pointers of emotional distress, and learning how to cope with it through counselling and treatment.

Priyanka Bhaduri is a student with the Centre for Counselling Services and Studies in Self Development, Jadavpur University.

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