“Mental health is like the tip of an iceberg that sank the Titanic ship. While only the tip of the iceberg was visible, there was so much buried deep inside,” opined Dr Shyam Appanna, a noted radiologist in Kodagu. He was speaking at the valedictory ceremony of the Mental Health Awareness Campaign conducted by Mind and Matter Charitable Trust in collaboration with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express.
Registered in the year 2021, Mind and Matter started as a charitable trust that focused on extending unconventional education to the kids of the various children’s homes in Madikeri. The organisation has henceforth come a long way and is now active in addressing the importance of mental health. Since November, the trust has been extending mental health awareness campaigns across schools in Kodagu district and Mysuru city even as various activities are hosted to address mental health issues.
“The organisation has collaborated with the Department of Psychiatric Social Work of NIMHANS, Bengaluru. Nearly three months ago, we called for volunteers and after training from NIMHANS, we have successfully completed sessions across five schools in Kodagu and five schools in Mysuru including over 900 students,” explained Deepika Appaiah, Founder of Mind and Matter.
The trust received 115 registrations for the volunteer call and a total of 25 volunteers were narrowed down following phone, online and physical interviews. In November, the facilitators from NIMHANS trained the volunteers, who are now conducting interactive mental health awareness sessions with high school students across ten schools.
“We are extending various activities related to mental health. We focus on empathy building, interpersonal relationships, problem-solving, emotional stability and other major aspects of mental health,” she added. Apart from students, the trust is also concentrating on extending the campaign to the teachers and parents of the children.
“We are conducting different activities for teachers and parents; they are made aware of why they need to be mindful of what they say or what they do to their child. One is made aware of how they have to address the needs of a child,” she explained.
While the trust undertook the campaign across 16 schools in Kodagu last year, they have covered 10 schools in total across Kodagu and Mysuru this year, even as Deepika shared that a few schools in Kodagu were not open to participating in the campaign despite the trust doing the service free of cost, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express.
The valedictory ceremony was recently held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Madikeri and guests including Dr Amrit of Lopamudra Hospital, Dr Shyam Appanna and Balaji Kashyap stressed the need to speak up about mental health.