Interviewed by Adelaide Ng.
What advice would you give someone who is currently experiencing mental health struggles?
Get Help. The best advice that I can give to anyone who is currently experiencing mental health issues is to let people who are close to you know what you are feeling, and to ask them for help. Break the stigma surrounding mental health conversations, and openly tell people who are close to you what you are going through. Asking for help is not something to be ashamed of, but instead you should be proud of yourself for having the courage to do so.
Why do you think the stigma surrounding mental health is so heightened?
People are embarrassed to talk about their mental health issues mainly because they are afraid of what other people will think about them. When it comes to mental health, there is a
lack of education and awareness, and many a times, there is a fear of people with mental illnesses. All of these things only add to the stigma surrounding mental health.
How do stigmas affect mental health victims?
The stigma surrounding Mental Health can lead to people feeling shameful, hopeless, and isolated when they are facing mental health problems. It also makes people afraid to ask for help or to get treatment.
How do you personally cope with school-related stress?
Being a full time student as well as an international chess player, Indian classical singer, and an executive director of a successful international non-profit organization, I certainly have a lot on my plate. The best way for me to cope with stress is by prioritizing. Prioritizing is an important skill and I strongly believe that if you make time for what you believe is important,
there will be time for everything. I also make sure that I give myself a break every now and then in order to avoid burning myself out.
How do you think schools should improve their mental health programs? How can they support students who are combating mental health conditions?
All schools should educate staff, parents, and students on symptoms of mental health problems, and train them on how to provide basic help for anyone facing mental health issues. They should also promote social and emotional wellness, and have a wellness center on-campus, designed by and easily accessible to all students.
What self-care practices would you recommend?
Some self care practices that I would highly recommend are: having a sleep routine, exercising regularly, and taking breaks as and when needed.
Do you believe that support systems are important?
I certainly believe that having a support system is really important. Having a good support system of people that you like, respect and trust plays a really important role in recovering
from a mental illness.You should always have people in your life whom you feel comfortable talking to about what you’re experiencing and whom you can ask for any help or support you
Other than mental health, are there any global issues that you are especially concerned about?
Apart from Mental Health, a global issue that really concerns me is bullying. Having been a victim of bullying myself, I know how hard it is for victims to deal with bullying, and how you dread going to school, how you feel helpless when you are being verbally abused and when you are being pulled down or cornered, and how your anxiety builds up. I’ve been through it. In order to help defeat bullying, I founded my own non-profit organization, Let’s Defeat Bullying. You can learn more about this org bu checking out our website-