The World Health Organisation recognises
on October 10 every year as an opportunity to raise “ World Mental Health Day (WMHD) awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.”
Feminism in India held a campaign for twenty days where we collected crowdsourced positive visuals of mental health support and end of stigma. Our aim, both with the campaign and our work, is to break down the stigma and myths associated with mental illnesses and provide a platform for folks to share their stories. Mental illnesses are feared and stigmatized tremendously in India – these misconceptions often stem from ignorance and superstitions. We want to start challenging these attitudes, one day at a time. Early this July, we launched our section on FII for people to share experiences, resources, tips and suggestions on mental health and mental illnesses. Mental Health and Wellness
The posters conveyed what mental health meant to you, what message you have for our readers. These were from your personal experience or from your observations. They narrated myths and stigmas you want to see disappear from our society. Below are the posters and artwork we received from around the world with people’s messages to offer support and end mental health stigma.
‘Inside an anxious mind’ by Shilpi Bhardwaj ‘I’m a hugger, and you?’ by Japleen Pasricha. “Sometimes all people need is for you to be quiet, listen to them, hold them and just be there. Big tight hugs can work like magic :)” On Depression by Maitri Dore. “…I was so scared as if I was being stuffed farther and farther into a black airless sack with no way out.” – Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar “Surfing is one of the activities I enjoy to look after my mental health! Surfing helps me to manage my anxiety, bringing me into the present moment where I can’t worry about the future.” – Cal, Mental Health Foundation, UK “These are a few of the most commonly heard phrases said to anyone suffering from a mental illness. Mental illnesses are a reality. They need to be accepted. A lot of people I came across believe that mental illnesses are mere excuses to avoid responsibilities. Mental illnesses are not a luxury or excuse. They’re a serious and life threatening problem. Let’s shun the stigma attached to mental illnesses in our societies and help those who need it the most.” – Amna Nasir “GREY is beautiful because our feelings also have shades!” – Madhura Raut “If Today Is One Of Those Days, Remember..” by Sheryl Sebastian. “Over the years, the one thing I’ve learned about depression is that it is possible for your mind to not be your own at times and for you to lose control of your thoughts. During my worst depressive phases, I now know I cannot always count on my mind for consolation, which is why I make notes for myself on my phone, on my laptop and other places where I can easily access them. Even if it isn’t easy to believe those things at that moment, just being able to bring myself to say it out loud again and again makes a world of difference.” “One of the most pervasive myths is that crimes are a direct and obvious outcome of mental illnesses. Media popularizes this by loosely throwing around words like depressed or schizophrenic and often finding mental illnesses after the crime has been committed. Several studies show that there is some, but not a significant amount of overlap between people who have mental illnesses and people who commit crimes. This doodle/drawing is a reminder of that — stop blaming all crimes on mental illnesses and start informing yourself with facts!” – Shruti Saxena ‘Meet my personal monsters’ by Sandhya Menon, Editor at Zen Parent ‘An exhausting struggle with post-partum depression’ by Sancharini Mitra Rachita Taneja ‘Tentacled’ by Swarna Deepika “This is a semi colon that I zentanged during my period of depression this year. I don’t know if it really helped signify that life needs to go on, but it definitely reminded me that there are others too going through something similar.” – Swetha Val Resh “I literally ‘fought’ depression all alone as the elder generation couldn’t understand what I suffered. Being a mum, I couldn’t even let my emotions get ahead of me as I had to put a facade of being ok in front of my child.” – Vidya Rajesh “A person with an unstable mental health already faces difficulties in coping up with even regular, everyday chores. Amidst this, a dismissive attitude of people never helps. So, the next time somebody tells you they don’t feel too good, just try and be a little more sensitive and ask them if they need your help. Let go of this stigma!” – Adishi Gupta ‘Seek a doctor, not a saint’ by Abhishek Pratap Singh ‘It’s On Me’ by Gaysi Family ‘How to bid goodbye to Depression’ by Kokila Bhattacharya “A lot of people say “What if the gave antidepressants to Vincent Van Gogh?” And you know Starry Night is very pretty, but it’s not worth it. It’s not worth the pain and misery he went through. I read somewhere that he used to eat yellow paint because he wanted to be happy. Can you imagine that? Being so miserable that believing the maddest idea could work. Everyone has their own version of yellow paint and medication is that for a lot of people. Medication is helping me and many others get through the neverending battle between depression and anxiety that goes on in my head.” – Pooja Iyer ‘People suffering from mental illnesses have as much right to live in the society as you do, don’t imprison them in hospitals’ – Priya Singh Sahiyo “It’s not easy dealing with the monsters in your head. However, be kind to your mind. Help is around the corner.” – Shreyasi Bose “Often people with mental illnesses are painted with broad strokes of darkness, pain and trauma. My trauma exists alongside my idealism.” – Srinidhi Syamantak Gupta #SupportNotStigma “Nightmares can be turned into dreams. Be nice to yourself. Be kind. Seek Help. We are right here!” – FII Team <3
About the author(s)
Feminism In India is an award-winning digital intersectional feminist media organisation to learn, educate and develop a feminist sensibility and unravel the F-word among the youth in India.