Sharmaji ka beta is a sensitive guy. He is a good listener. Hence, lot of his friends and colleagues come to him to share their problems. In his family too, whenever anyone is in distress, they would approach Sharma knowing, he would not judge and help them out with logical solution. Sharma firmly believed, any problem can be solved by talking.
Sharma has a cousin who was going through some troubles in his marital life. So he decided to visit the couple. He asked them to talk thinking it would help them sort out their issues.
Sharma’s cousin was an aggressive man. He was chronically unhappy with his life. His family had advised the couple to have children hoping that would make a difference and they could finally find some happiness. But that didn’t work either. The cousin was not violent on kids or his wife. But from time to time, he would get these fits where he would start breaking the furniture or throwing things away. His wife was an understanding woman, and she listened to him complaining about every little thing, hoping it might help him come out of his pessimism. But nothing worked. Worried about her children and their mental health, she had decided to get separated along with children from her husband.
This was when Sharma was called in by the family members, hoping that he would be able to convince his sister in law to stay back with her devastated husband.
Sharma, on knowing the situation went to speak to his cousin. He realized, his cousin was going through stress and depression to the point of being almost suicidal. Concerned about his brother and his family, he suggested the couple to spend some time apart, while his cousin could seek professional help. However, his cousin and his family reprimanded Sharma for calling him mad.
Sharma realized that the actual problem wasn’t his brother’s depression or his marital life. It was a taboo that existed in his family about talking of mental illness. He understood that his cousin would probably suffer more, if he didn’t fight this taboo.
Sharma remembered reading in a national survey that one of every five Indians is suffering from mental illness. And a WHO report said that India was one of the most depressed countries in the world. Even then, India spent only 0.06% of its total health budget on Mental illnesses.
Sharma, smart guy that he was, asked his cousin to go on a trip. He requested a psychologist friend of his to accompany his cousin, without him knowing of it. After the trip, Sharma’s cousin was significantly happy. He had realized in the trip that he was being treated. And the exercises and practices recommended by his travel mate helped him cope with his situation. He conveyed this to his family who understood the importance of communicating about mental health. As at the day end, happiness was all they wanted for their children.
Sharma understood that his method worked because it was in disguise. So Sharma along with his friends has set up an app, from which people can make a call for free to talk about them. The app not only hid their identity but also changed the voice of the caller, so they feel secure about talking freely. “You should not have to wait till you are suicidal to have someone to listen to you,” said Sharma.
Sharma has started a social media campaign with a hash tag #talkitout to encourage everyone to open up about their mental health. He has also urged schools, colleges and corporate offices to use this app. Sharmaji, humbled by his son, has started to do his bit by urging everyone around him to speak to him about their problems. He has become more open minded and non-judgmental, thanks to his son.
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The CSR Journal Team