MENTAL HEALTH FOR ALL

American gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the Tokyo Olympic floor final earlier this year to focus on her mental health. She has not minced words in documenting her struggles with mental health in posts on her social media accounts. Mind you, she has been a reigning champion – a superstar!

Of late, mental health has been drawing the much needed attention from several quarters. Celebrities coming out to share their mental health struggles has immensely furthered the cause, which is otherwise considered to be a stigma in most parts of the world.

If you are a person who still thinks that there is a lot of unwanted fuss being made about ‘mental health’ and that there are other issues that deserve more attention, then you really need to rethink. Just as one would nurse a bruised limb in case of an injury, a wounded mind also needs to be nursed.

Be it about the physical, social, spiritual or psychological issues, we humans focus more on the seen than on the unseen. And this shapes our behaviour most of the times. However, what is unseen is more crucial than what is seen!

Have you ever attended a Puppet Show? Not only children, but adults too are attracted towards the colourful talking, singing, jumping puppets. But, what attention would puppets draw without puppeteers or marionettists doing their jobs well, behind the screen? The voices of the puppets and their movements are all regulated by the puppeteers. Puppets look attractive, but without voices and movements, they won’t be any different than dolls or other toys that kids play with and no one would accord them much attention. What is unseen is significant to the visible performance of a Puppet Show and that by large determines the success of the show!

We humans focus so much on what we consciously perceive, that we ignore the major preconscious and unconscious zones of our minds. What is concealed comprises of more than what is revealed. And, this concealed zone influences the revealed zone greatly.

This article is not about training the preconscious and unconscious minds. Rather, the intent of this article is to drive home the point that since a person is more than what you and I see him or her as, and since a person’s behaviour is regulated by factors more than what is seen in the external environment, we need to be sensitive to each other’s mental health.

Who are the target groups?

Everyone.

Starting from foetal stage till grey hairs right  upto the grave – each one needs mental health care.

Mental health deterioration in a person (if it happens) starts from the time s/he is conceived owing to environmental stressors and genetic predispositions. When we ensure sound mental health of an expectant mother, we ensure sound mental health of the baby that is born. If the foetus growing within the mother is indirectly exposed to environmental stressors be they in the form of physical/ psychological/sexual/substance abuse, domestic violence, workplace harassment, maternal distress and sicknesses, poor nutrition – the baby that is born either develops a hardy personality (i.e., extreme resilience to stressors and a remarkable ability to cope with them) or develops a vulnerable personality (i.e., extremely sensitive to stressors and ill-equipped to cope with them). Besides purely medical conditions, the genesis of mental ill-health begins from this stage. Hence, foetal mental health is of utmost importance.

Children’s mental health needs a lot of attention too. The way children are shaped and cared for reflects in their adult lives. While the mental health of all children is crucial, those who suffer from disabilities and consequently from low self-esteem, those from single parent or parent absent families, those from war torn parts of the world, those subjected to abuse, those exposed to trauma and other disturbing life events – need specific mental health care.

Adolescent mental health care is crucial as the youngsters leap from childhood into adulthood and dabble with identity, acceptance and self-esteem issues. As they experiment with looks, relationships, careers and largely detest the tons of parental advice that are heaped on them, as they taste success or meet failures – there mental health needs attention. If the adolescent suffers from physical or psychological disorders/ disabilities, targetted mental health care is essential. This is precisely the stage when adolescents need to understand and accept that it is absolutely vital to seek good counsel.

Healthy adults shape up a healthy world. Numerous factors can mar an adult’s mental health. Starting from a lack of social acceptance, repressed childhood memories, to job hazards (harassment, exploitation, deprivation of rights and entitlements, unhygienic environment, layoffs), personal or familial ill-health, financial crises, family disputes, domestic violence, substance abuse and many more such additions to the list – an adult’s mental health requires a lot of care.

During the sunset years of life when one lies in a phase of apparent relaxation, mental health needs to be cared for. This is the time when most aged people are left uncared for, given menials and in many cases given the least attention. This is the time when they feel unwanted, when their desires are left unmet and their thoughts wander without expression. This is the time when most of the aged suffer from various illnesses. While a seed that promises to bear fruits needs care and nurturance, a tree that has borne fruits and flowers throughout life needs to be proffered due dignity.

So you see, all stages of life require mental health care just as they require physical health care.

With this I come to another important aspect which I would urge everyone to ponder upon.

Is mental health consideration meant for the educated and the affluent alone? What about that tramp on the street, the maid in the house, that ragpicker, the child labourer, the trafficked girl in the brothel and all those who find themselves at the receiving end of educational, social, economical deprivation? Those whose primary concerns are two square meals a day, a few old clothes on the body and perhaps someone’s doorstep for shelter? Who cares for their mental health, if at all?

With an unprecedented pandemic hitting the world which was at the helm of economic, technological, social progress like never before – mental health has suffered severe battering. In the last one and half years, there have been reports of increase in crime and domestic violence of humungous proportions – a majority of which have been under reported or have gone unreported. Millions of people have been rendered jobless. Thousands have lost their loved ones. Children have been orphaned.

While mental health professionals are doing their bit to help a wounded world, what can you and I do?

  1. Recognize the need for sound mental of those around you – your spouse, parents, children, siblings, neighbours, colleagues, superiors, subordinates, domestic helps, caregivers, service providers and anyone who you come in contact with.
  2. Cater to their mental health to the extent you can – Understanding words, appreciation, encouragement, connecting to legal/ medical/ mental health professionals as the requirement may be.
  3. Be sensitive – Do not share sensitive details of one person with others without their permission.
  4. Take care of your own mental health – In order to cater to and be sensitive to others’ mental health, one’s own mind needs to be in good health. Take a break when required. Do things that relax you. Arrange for like-minded caregivers to fill in for you in your daily chores as you care for your mind.
  5. Pray – Health is a blessing from God. He alone can grant the serenity and well-being of the mind when the tides rise against us. Whether you are in bliss or in the tumultuous tempests, pray that God keeps your mind tranquil and supple.

God’s plan for mankind was never chaos and destruction. But since we have driven ourselves into it, our mental health has suffered a severe beating. Seeking His strength, we can collectively work together for our own and others’ psychological well-being. May the theme of Mental Health Day 2021 be our focus for life: Mental Health in an Unequal World.

MY FLAWS

“If my flaws make me humble, receptive and compassionate as compared to your perfection that made you indifferent and rude towards a fellow being then I would proudly embrace my flaws.”

Kalpana Vogeti

METLIFE – “HAVE YOU MET YOUR LIFE TODAY”

They are trying to sell Insurance but this tagline is just so deep in its meaning. I have learnt in life that we are not our bodies, we live in bodies till we are on this planet and then we leave. I have learnt that we are not our thoughts – we have these positive and negative thoughts and we often get consumed by them but they are a running train in our head all throughout our lives.

We are not all the possessions that we collect in our lifetime, they are just there to make our stay on this planet easier. We are not even our purpose that is just the work that we do for humanity.

We are attached to a million things – our body, our thoughts, our purpose, our possessions but we are none of this. We always get consumed by all these things throughout our lifetime. We are just life, we are just meant to enjoy this God-gifted life and leave when the time comes.

Have you really met the life that you are? Maybe not.

Nature has given us 5 sense organs to perceive the outside world. We can see what it around us, we can hear the sounds, we can taste what is in our mouth, we feel all that we touch and we can smell the world around us. Living is a challenge if one of these sense organs fails us. We can perceive the world outside with so much clarity yet we cannot feel the blood rushing in our veins, we cannot hear our heart that is working 24/7, we cannot feel our stomach, kidneys working.

Our sense organs help us tremendously to live a good life on this planet and those are really important for our survival. However we need to work a little bit and have some direction in life to go inwards. Only when we go inwards, we can meet life. Life that we are!

Simple techniques of meditation – observing your own breath and the changes in your body with each breath, eating food mindfully, being conscious of your own thoughts can help us tremendously be in touch with our inner selves.

Another way to meet life is to observe the life around you – the little ants that carry the burden so gracefully, the pigeons that collect to pick up the grains, the dog that looks into your eyes requesting for a pat, the leaves that just sway with the wind. Put a brake on the speed on your work and stop to appreciate these little things that are lives.

Life is not our jobs or deadlines, life is not our conflicts with other people and life is not the love we have for others. Life is just the constant transaction that we have with the world outside – transaction in terms of our breath, food, water, excreta. We are constantly taking something from the environment and giving out something. This is life – just observe this life and take time to meet this life.

Once it becomes a habit – you can truly say “I have met life today”

REST WITH ZEST

Rest with zest,
Keep yourself calm and cool,
Take a break from your schedule
Don’t behave old school.

Work will be completed
with all its glorious parts,
Help your mind with little zest,
And think about your heart.

Just chill and take rest and
give time to take life’s test.
When heart, body and mind
balance is done,
Soul shows its ecstatic shades.

– Lopamudra Pal

REST – simple word, but very complicated. It has many meanings with prefixes and suffixes. But REST means to keep time for yourself, maintain body and mind balance. ME time fixes the problem and rejuvenates you. It is the perfect time for resting the body and testing the mind for creating new ideas. We in our daily lives don’t take out time for ourselves and then starts the blame-game. Sometimes we indulge into the problems so badly that we don’t realise what we get and what we lose. We try to satisfy each and everyone, professionally and personally. But it’s not always possible. Still we try harder and harder to get it done. We get really tired of being perfect. Perfection and being perfect is good, but not always.

We as human beings, get frustrated and take wrong steps. At times, some of us go to the verge of breaking relationships too. But we don’t realise the main problem. We don’t look at the angle, that we actually need a break and want to take rest with zest. We need to get a break from everything we do starting from what we think, we plan, we cook, we read, we write… everything. ” Just being with self”, that should be the essence of being in rest.

The heart is a very small thing, but very precious. It understands all the feelings, situations, emotions, good, bad … everything. Resting the heart means rejuvenating it with more good and positive thoughts. The longevity increases. Now, everyone is overloaded with work and the pressure is burdened with bad impact on heart and mind. It affects family members and other relations as well. Keeping yourself cool for all situations is the only solution. It can be taken by taking a break for resting. Divide the works among family members and spread equality. Work is a never ending thread. It’s a continuous process. We need to take rest for making the future bonding strong enough to handle all the odds.

“Stop overthinking.
You cannot control or change everything.
Let things go with the flow.”

An understanding heart is always a tired one. It takes out positivity from negativity. It too gets tired. It too needs rest for a while. But actually we don’t take. We should go for the break for our heart, mind, body and soul. Close your eyes, think nothing. Leave the worries behind. Keep your mind cool with low volume soothing music. Take long breathe, exhale and inhale. Feel the power of the heart and the brain syncing together. Then the nerves of your brain will run in a supersonic way.

Taking a break in any way, is to get yourself in a Restart Mode. Sit in the balcony and look around nature with a deep breath. Feel serenity and calmness within. That’s the result of rest with zest!

A STORY OF DECEMBER

The snow has put autumn to sleep
luring people to the
shop of antiques
to greet the Christmas’s bliss
bidding adieu to
autumn departing in divine abyss
as if a pleasure to remember
that comes with each December
Gathers a choir of red Robin
sitting on the dusty hemlocks
singing a mystical winter song
While the flock of Bohemian
teases the pansies and willows
spread across the snow banks
for trespassing their winsome land
A gem of a nature
for some an unwanted stranger
A muse to the lost
amidst the snow frost
A shroud for the dead,
while a scenery for the painter ahead.

Saniya Firdaus

REST LIKE YOU MEAN IT

“Sometimes the best solution is to REST, RELAX and RECHARGE. It’s hard to be your best on empty.”

But with the new normal the office has entered into our homes. It has systematically eaten into our relaxation time. Office never ends. Calls and emails keep on going from evening to late into the night trying to accommodate all the different time zones in the world. The company says – anyways you have nowhere else to go to so might as well utilize the time. 

There is a kind of buzzing in the house all the time – enter one room and you realize it’s a classroom for the time being. Enter the second room and you have accidentally entered a meeting room with your hubby’s eyes transmitting a huge ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ Board. 

My mixer grinder, cooker and even TV are not allowed to create their usual racket. So what do I do? I blot out the buzz sit on the sofa plug in my earphones and login to my favorite OTT channel.

This was my relaxation. My little world inside this bigger world. I was really enjoying it. I get transported to another world, comfortably lounging on my sofa and the headphones whispering into my ear and time just flies..

Yes it flies and how.. Gone are the good old days of weekly soaps or even daily soaps. Now is the time for series. I am sure no one has dutifully stopped after one episode. One episode leads to the second and then the third and so on.. minutes turn into hours.. 

I have watched entire seasons in matter of days. Just completed the series ‘Sherlock’ which has 7 seasons. 

But seriously I have come to realize that is not rest and surely not relaxation. My body is lying for hours in an awkward angle trying to balance my phone or remote. Binge watching and binge eating go hand in hand. And then most importantly my eyes are not getting any rest. Work also means I am staring at the screen for long hours and fun also means the same. Brain is also buzzing with the non-stop watching. There is a sense of satisfaction that I completed so and so series in such less time but then again it’s a race to complete it not relaxation.

I am trying to kick this habit. Or at least reduce the binging time. 

Do share what is the kind of relaxation you are into. And does it really give rest to your body?

A CUT ABOVE THE REST – A NOT SO SIMPLE STORY

Have you ever seen yourself dead? …you know that very moment when your soul is slowly leaving your body.. and all that’s left on earth is well.. you, or at least the physical you – your lifeless body that people are crying over?

I did… right at the time when she said

Rest in Peace my friend… you need this”

That’s when it all came back to me. I wasn’t supposed to die, my life was snatched away from me. I didn’t deserve it, and I’m coming back to know exactly what happened.

I could be you…. you or even you crying at the corner. No one can hear me now – but all of you will, soon, very soon. Sooner than you all realize.

Back at the plush bungalow by the pristine beach, ovelooking the Butterfly Creek, stood exactly 3.5 healthy living entities – Shawn: the cook, Pascoal: the next-door-sin-affair, Aditi: the best friend and Pluto: the cute pomeranian – who probably had all the answers, only if he could talk.

The word going around was that I ended it all by myself.

Inspector Mark Gracias, the most eligible bachelor of the Goa Police Force, having surveyed the immediate surroundings, took to the nearest sofa, looked towards Shawn and asked:

“May I have a cup of tea”?

Not an ideal time to be drinking tea – I thought. But then this was Mark we’re talking about, and nobody says NO when he asks for tea. He had always said, his brain worked a little better with a hot cup of tea.

Now, how would I know something like that? Interesting that you noticed:

Incase you are confused, it is still me talking. I am talking from the beyond.

<did I hear you ask: How is that possible? Well… this is my story afterall…>

I am Stella – well, atleast I was Stella while I spent my life down on earth, NOW, I don’t quite have an identity. I am around you or might just be YOU.

The thing about situations like these are: it makes people vulnerable even when they know they aren’t responsible for what has happened. Drooping shoulders, bent heads and sombre faces are all what is seen around.

“Make that TWO”a voice spoke from the main door, bringing along with the aroma of a strong scent of perfume…

…fruity floral with notes of citrus, rounded out with jasmine, sandalwood, and vanilla”blurted out Pascoal almost immediately,

taking in the heavy scent that surrounded the woman, who had now entered the room, giving a fleeting glance on the covered-once-upon-a-time Stella (she was just a body now) making herself comfortable on the sofa.

Giving a quick scan across the room, she looked to the dashing Inspector.

Let me lay all your doubts to rest, Inspector: I know who did it” …. pointing to the covered white sheet on the floor

“…and the rest as they say, is HISTORY”, she continued

“It is interesting that you say it with so much conviction: Mrs…”

“It is Miss. Miss Surabhi”

“Ms. Surabhi, be rest assured – this isn’t an open and shut case as you make it to be. I am here and I WILL find out the TRUTH, to know exactly what happened.


The word “Rest” need not be only associated with relaxtion, slowing down or putting on pause, but it can also be used in an English phrase or an idiom. While the brain works better after giving it adequate rest, for all other other times – a cup of Tea works just as well.

While I’ve had fun brewing up a story out of nothing, trying to use a couple of idioms (of rest) along the way. It is interesting to know that – using phrases like idioms, similies or alliterations, makes the language and the speaker/writer look classy, and in the process if you can weave out a story or two around it – nothing like it.

The completion of the above story is left to the readers imagination. Or maybe simply enlargen it, if it is something you enjoy doing.

  • #Fact The Police take a good 25/30 minutes to arrive after a particular scenario arises #India
  • Women make even better detective-ghosts than they otherwise do on Earth.
  • Perfumes are vital clues in every investigation. Women always leave a trail – even after they’re dead
  • My stories should be read with a pinch of salt