The Mental Health Institute 2018 – Day 2

MUMBAI — Day two of The Mental Health Institute was full of information and discussions. We started with a lecture by Dr. Kersi Chavda, psychiatrist, who covered multiple dimensions of adolescent mental health, focusing on depression, aggression the increasing rate of suicides in the country. He also discussed the Blue Whale issue which continues to take many lives around the world. Dr. Chavda stressed on the need for mental health professionals to focus on helping the youth build and maintain a healthy personality. As a long-term solution, we discussed how this (a healthy personality), along with adequate information about the dangers of “games” such could prevent the tragedies of the Blue Whale and similar cyber bullying.

Post  the intensive discussion, Mrs. Aditee Guttikar, a career guidance counsellor, shared with us the world of vocational guidance, tests, counselling, how guidance works at different ages. Mrs. Guttikar confirmed that it is not advisable for one to do testing during the course of treatment.  This wasn’t the end. In the second half of the day, another set of speakers were lined up.

Thelma Schoonmaker said,“With digital editing, I now can make many, many versions of a scene.” Looking at our increased reliance on the internet for information, news, and communication, it is necessary to be aware about the way the digital world functions and our relationship with the web. Ms. Janki Mehta, a psychotherapist and co-founder of Mind Mandala discussed about how an individual should maintain their mental health in the virtual world. She shared her thoughts on how the ease of using the internet is reducing the efficiency of human beings. We talked about loneliness perpetuated by the virtual world. The internet does give one a voice; staying behind the screen is often easier and much safer than going out into the real world, for some. However, as much as it is a comfort zone for a set of people, we tend to forget that the virtual world is twice as dangerous. Despite the cons, though, Ms. Mehta agreed that technological advancement is a necessity and it will not stop growing, but it is us as individuals who are supposed to set boundaries.

On these similar views, the next speaker, Dr. Avinash Desousa, founder trustee of Desousa Foundation also focused on Digital Psychology, and how social media has created a global world that is just a click away but at the same time created distance between people. He explored the subject, giving numerous examples of families, adolescents, teenagers and even kids who simply can’t live, offline. This dependence perpetuates a vulnerability to various mental and physical illness like self-esteem issues, low attention spans, and sleep disturbances. He reiterated that the world will evolve with each passing day, but as individuals, we can prioritise, set boundaries, be alert and more engaged with the world around us. When asked about eBooks, he jokingly said, “There is nothing that can replace the smell of a fresh book.”

Discussions in full swing.

Participants seemed to enjoy the different ideas and new information brought forward to them; addressing questions and clarifying concepts related to mental health in the best possible manner is one of the objectives of the program.

The day concluded by introducing the Innovation Challenge to participants, where they were given an opportunity to create a plan to make the educational sector more inclusive of mental health services available to them. The organisers will mentor and micro-fund the winning idea.

Dhanshree Waghmare is a volunteer at the De Sousa Foundation.

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The Beginning, Middle and End: A Tryst with Depression

The Mental Health Institute 2018 – Day 1

MUMBAI — In this moneymaking world where everything can be monetised, human beings have begun to focus much more on keeping ourselves fit to stay on top of our daily routines. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, physical health is the only thing that matters, and mental health takes a backseat. We are bringing it back to the forefront.

One Future Collective, De Sousa Foundation, and the Psychiatry Department of Lok Manya Tilak Government Hospital, Mumbai organised a 4 day, 25 hour event: The Mental Health Institute, running over two weekends in December 2018.

On day one, a group of 30 students and professionals from diverse fields discussed what mental health is and how one can maintain their mental health. Pragya Lodha, a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor at Nanavati College, Mumbai introduced the students and briefed them about the definition of mental health, on what it means to be mentally strong, how one’s weakness can be their strengths by giving a new angle to it. Participants raised questions on how far a trauma can stay, what should one do about it, what opportunities lie in the field and what is the current trend of practice.

Richa Vashista, a mental health professional specialising in addressing issues on sexual orientation and gender identity, discussed the basic concepts related to sexual orientation, asking participants to give their own definitions of terms used in everyday language. It was an interactive, curious group keen on understanding the fundamentals of mental health.

It is often seen that due to an overload of work and responsibilities, one often has mood swings and temperamental issues which act as a hindrance in one’s daily life activities. These lead to either hurting a loved one or to poor social interaction. Dr. Hozefa Bhinderwala, a psychiatrist consulting at Global Hospital, Saifee Hospital and Prince Aly Khan Hospital mentored the participants on Anger Management. He engaged us with stories of sages and enlightenment and how expression of anger is a choice, not a reflex. He shared one of his experiences where he realised that when one is angry, enough is conveyed with or without saying anything. In response to a question on whether being angry is one’s nature, and if so, what can we do about it, he smiled and said, “Habits can be changed. That habits stay same is an extremely incorrect, it is a myth. Habits die when properly killed.”

Participants were asked for feedback after the first day. They told us that they appreciated the kind of discussions taking place within the cohort, and were looking forward to the rest.

Richa Vashista / One Future Collective
Participants and team members at the Institute /One Future Collective
Dr Bhinderwala /One Future Collective

Dhanshree Waghmare is a volunteer at the De Sousa Foundation.

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The Beginning, Middle and End: A Tryst with Depression

An Introductory Course in Public Policy (Sneak Peek)

A message from Vandita Morarka, Founder and CEO:

This is a very exciting month for us at One Future Collective! We’re launching our first introductory course in Public Policy, in collaboration with St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and Forum for Research on Civic Affairs.

Every aspect of life, from the boardroom to the bedroom, is a result of policy action. This course helps participants gain an introductory understanding of public policy. It will inform participants on how they can engage with policy, either to increase or amplify the impact of their own work — whatever the arena may be — or to explore public policy as a career path. We will examine basic concepts of policy, its evolution, social policy, technology and governance, and so on.

The course also involves active experiential and practice-based components, so that participants learn about the subject through a practical, real-world approach. It will also give participants a chance to gain exposure to networking and mentoring opportunities from industry leaders. You will get the chance to interact with a variety of speakers and mentors, ranging from an ex-Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, lawyers, directors of not-for-profits, academicians, to practitioners from leading social impact consultancies.


Takeaways from the Public Policy Institute, running on 4-5th and 11-12th August 2018.


Course Details

The classes will be held over two weekends, with over 20 contact hours. Participants will be provided with a certificate at their successful completion of the program. The fees for the program is 2000 INR for students and 5000 INR for others. Those interested can sign up here.

Dates: 4, 5, 11 and 12 August 2018

Timings: Saturdays: 1pm to 7pm; Sundays: 9am to 7pm

Venue: St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai

For queries, please write to us at or call / WhatsApp at +91 9082301339.

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Queer Infocus | July 2020

The Beginning, Middle and End: A Tryst with Depression