According to the World Health Organisation, all it takes is 40 seconds of action to start a conversation with someone you think/know is struggling with their mental health. This is the focus of 2019’s World Mental Health Day, which will be observed on October 10. Of late, plenty of action is being taken both online and offline to erase the stigma surrounding such topics.
For instance, late last year, Tina Chan, a masters student of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, Canada, came up with the idea of creating a first aid kit for mental trauma. The Panic, Anxiety and Stress Support Kit, or PASS Kit, contains flashcards with concise mental health advice, ear plugs, a foam star, eye mask and chewing gum — each with a specific purpose (priced at approximately ₹800 on mypasskit.com). Starting this year, the college hands them out to all first-year students.
Closer home, here are two options for similar kits created by Indian organisations.
The Meh Kit
Bhairavi Prakash, psychologist and founder of Bengaluru-based Mithra Trust, says that a lot of information surrounding depression is focussed on illness and not on well-being. There’s also the lack of knowledge that depression is episodic in nature. So they set about crowdfunding a kit that “gives people information and actions they can engage with”. While they set a target of ₹2 lakh to create 350 boxes, they raised a little over ₹3 lakh.
One of the main elements is the ‘What to Say’ card pack. “People can say things with good intentions, but it might not make you feel good, and could smack of ignorance. You can hand them one of these cards that suggest how they can reframe their concern,” says Prakash. Some are blank, so you can add your preferred statements. The self-care element includes reminders to reach out to someone, a calender, a journal, a flip book, battery cards to note down people and things that drain and replenish your energy levels, stickers, posters and clay.
Available on mithratrust.com, at ₹750 each.
Science of Happiness
Mumbai-based Happiitude — a company that specialises in training happiness coaches — also offers this “evidence-based toolkit to help children aged six to 13 take control of their feelings and thoughts”. Founder Karan Behl says, “We collaborated with researchers from The Berkeley Well-Being Institute and game developers to create modules that use board games with over 200 daily life situations, jigsaw puzzles, journals, posters and worksheets.” It is meant to be used at a school level, and targets mental and emotional well-being, self-image issues and anger management.
The price of a kit with training and certification is ₹28,500; just the kit comes at ₹15,000. Available on happiitude.com/happinesskit.