Mental health is as important as our physical health but unfortunately, it’s not considered so. People shy away from talking about how they are feeling inside. Not discussing the stress and anxiety they are going through leads to the build-up of depression and frustration in them. These mental conditions are extremely dangerous. In lack of a support system, sometimes people feel so helpless and clueless that they start thinking of taking extreme steps like turning to drugs, alcohol or even ending their life. Raashi Thakran a 21-year-old young girl from India who lost her 18-year-old younger brother to suicide in January 2019 has made it the purpose of her life to raise awareness about mental health and to work for suicide prevention. Here’s her story in her own words.
Raising Awareness about Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
I am Raashi Thakran, a 21-year-old mental health advocate and social activist from India. I acknowledge and try to openly talk about suicide and mental health issues in my community. I lost my little brother Raghav who was just 18 years old to suicide in January 2019. Being a suicide loss survivor is difficult. Therefore I have made the goal of my life to talk about mental health which is highly stigmatized in our nation as well as around the world. I try to normalize talks around it through social media and other outlets. I also take sessions on mental health and self-care in schools, colleges, and other organizations in order to raise awareness.
I recently gave a talk at the University of Delhi detailing my journey and campaign surrounding suicide prevention.
In June 2019, I was selected for a fellowship at Change.org and with their guidance, I have started a petition asking the government to launch a national helpline number for suicide prevention in India. My petition has received more than 2 lakh signatures to date which means people understand the gravity of the situation and are taking a stand against suicide.
I believe I can instill hope and motivation within a community. I have successfully managed to gather 2 lakh citizens to take a stand against a cause that we collectively want to fight.
I worked with Teach for India for a duration of 3 months. I got to work with students from low-income backgrounds. I worked on various projects including “Care for Fellows” in order to promote their mental wellbeing in the workplace.
I have been selected to assist refugees in Egypt. I will be traveling next year to conduct workshops in order to enhance their mental/psychological well-being and I am looking forward to it.
Coming to terms with your mental health is a process. It’s very similar to “coming out”. A person who is silently suffering is closeted. Coming out can seem daunting and scary without the right kind of support.
We need to create safe spaces for each other and this is what I’m trying to do.
Connect with Raashi
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/raashi._.smh/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RaashiThakran?s=09