PUNE: In a bid to help youngsters deal with the taboo surrounding mental health, a group of collegians in the city has started ‘Here For You’ (HFY), an NGO to lend a listening ear to problems of distressed youngsters in a friendly environment.
Keeping in mind the issue of deteriorating mental health among youngsters, Vani Duggal of the India School of Communication in Wakad, along with 10 volunteers from different colleges, formed this group in April to spread awareness and extend counselling to school and college students.
While the group is still in the process of registration, they are planning to expand their reach by approaching schools and colleges across the city.
“In India a depressed person is seen as ‘mad’. I always wished to eradicate this taboo. It is difficult for many people, specially youngsters, to go to someone with their problems, as they fear getting judged. Hence, we started this initiative to provide a platform to the distressed to open up and share their problems,” Duggal said.
She said the reach of the NGO is not very extensive at the moment as they are still in the process of registration. Soon, they will approach colleges and schools in the city with the proposal to help students.
Duggal (20), founder of the NGO, is a basic NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) practitioner. She has completed her CBT (Congnitive Behavioural Therapy) course and Depression Counselling Diploma. She is accompanied by Ashiya Guha (19), who has completed SMT (Stressful Mind Therapy) and Personality Development.
“While interacting with students who have approached us, we encountered several kinds of problems. One of the major problems that we have seen is issues in the family. The teenagers and those in their twenties are at such a tender age that due to differences with their family members, many face distress and are at the risk of getting depression. This leads to a sense of low self-esteem and inferiority complex among them. They usually have no one to discuss the problems with. Moreover, there are problems regarding peer pressure, stress of studying and examinations,” she added.
The NGO also aims to spread awareness amongst the public about depression, its branches and how harmful it can be. The NGO also conducts sessions in a few housing societies in Aundh and Pimple Saudagar and the members wish to expand across Pune soon.
Duggal said the counsellors being young helps a lot while talking to the distressed youths. “We have an understanding of the issues and the stresses that they face, as we too are at the same age. So, they are also more comfortable while sharing with us than they would be while sharing with any other conventional counsellor,” she added.