With education and awareness, we can fight the stigma attached to mental health- Ananya Birla

Tanvi Jetly
Tanvi Jetly Oct 10 2017 - 3 min read
With education and awareness, we can fight the stigma attached to mental health- Ananya Birla
Mental Health is not just a combination of two words but it holds an important meaning in everyone’s lives in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Every time a person falls ill, he/she makes sure to visit a doctor and takes appropriate medicines. This happens because they understand the need to be physically fit in order to meet everyday targets and tasks but what about mental health? This topic is ignored most of the time because of the stigma attached to it and hence, no one wants to talk about it. On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, Wellness India had a conversation with Ms Ananya Birla, Co-Founder and Vice- Chairperson, Mpower Minds Matter, we discussed the initiatives her brand is taking towards achieving Mental health, the need for it and the importance of corporate wellness in stressful times like these.

What, according to you, is mental health?
Mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.For me, mental health is not just the absence of mental illness but a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

What initiatives have been taken by your brand Mpower Minds in spreading awareness about sustaining mental health?
Mental health is so stigmatized not just in our country but the world over. Mpower aims to be a movement that brings change by creating awareness, advocating prevention and providing services through a network of individuals and organizations for people living with mental health problems and psycho-social disabilities. Recently on World Suicide Prevention day, Mpower Minds launched the ‘Ear For You’ movement which encourages dialogue on Mental Health issues. Our most recent initiative is GENM, which is a music platform that endeavours to bring together all Mumbaikars to champion mental health causes in India. Arijit Singh will be the flagbearer for the first of this annual property by MpowerMinds. Leaders and influencers from the entertainment, business and sports domains will be in presence to support this cause.

What factors are obstacles in the way towards achieving mental health?
The stigma attached to mental illness is the biggest obstacle in the prevention and cure of mental health. With education and awareness, we can fight this stigma.

How important has corporate wellness become in today’s scenario?
I firmly believe that corporate wellness is extremely integral to the functioning of our work and performance. Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) observes World Mental Health Day, highlighting the importance of maintaining mental as well as physical health. While people are still struggling to talk about their struggles with mental health, the workplace is seen as an environment where employees are meant to maintain a facade of hard-working, focused perfection. To put it simply, problems at work can follow you home, and problems at home can follow you to work. With Mpower, we have taken a pledge to build a change in society’s outlook towards mental health and to propagate the concept of prevention, and education in the mental health domain.

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