January 27, 2021

Rural India needs a lot more awareness about mental health: Jhanvi Sethi

Psychologist and celebrity wife Jhanvi Sethi started her NGO, My Zindagi Foundation, to create awareness about mental health, civil responsibilities and environmental conservation. She feels that even though there so much has been talked about mental health, rural India still needs a lot more awareness about it.

Of late, many celebrities opened about their struggle with depression and anxiety, and Jhanvi feels, “Even celebrities opening up on depression and mental health hazards is a fairly recent phenomenon. I feel we still need a lot more awareness about it, especially in rural India.”

She started the NGO in 2018, and her husband and actor Vikas Sethi is the co-founder of the NGO and psychologist Dixita Mehta has joined hands as her partner. The name “My Zindagi” just seems apt especially because of the cause associated with it and she said, “My Zindagi, meaning my life as an offering for those in need and those who suffer silently.”

Beautiful thought, right?

When asked what made her start the NGO, Jhanvi said, “You know sometimes we go through deep personal pain and losses to come to realise who we truly are. It was at such a point in my life that I met my partner Vikas. We both had been through more than enough. It’s then we realised that given that I am a psychologist I should use this for the betterment of all those in need. That’s how My Zindagi Foundation was born.”

Talking about acknowledging the mental health situation in India, she said, “Honestly it’s really alarming but I feel grateful. Alarming because cases are going up constantly because of increased awareness on the subject. And grateful because people are opening up and leading more fulfilled lives.”

She admits each troubled person is acting from a place of fear and this person needs you to understand him/her and support them with gentleness and loving kindness. She feels to accept them one needs to open their mind and their heart.

“A fundamental awareness needs to be created for everyone to understand the potential that has been hidden away under layers of insecurities, upbringing, societal conditioning,” she added.

Lastly, when asked how she thinks people can help the ones in need, she said, “The key lies in these five magic words – warmth, kindness, gentleness, love and healing.”

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