Women & Mental Health: Creating Awareness & Support Networks
On International Women’s Day, Poddar Foundation conducts Psycho-Social Awareness program for women Bachat Ghat Groups
Mumbai Based Poddar Foundation works towards building holistic health for women at all levels of society
Mumbai : From domestic violence to social discrimination to patriarchal abuse, women experience a series of mental and emotional health challenges throughout their lives. Unfortunately, a large number of them continue to suffer without adequate help due to lack of support networks and stigma attached to mental illnesses.
The need to raise awareness about mental health challenges and extend support to those in need was the central theme as Poddar Foundation organized a community training program on mental health awareness for women to mark International Women’s Day.
Women members of a Self Help (Bachat Gat) Group from Mankhurd actively took part in the awareness session and came forward to discuss the emotional and mental challenges faced by them in their daily lives. They interacted freely with experts and counselors who doled out valuable advice and suggestions on dealing with such challenges through measures such as creating a support network and reaching out for help. The awareness cum counseling session was held at Mukesh Patel Auditorium, Vile Parle, Mumbai.
A panel discussion was also held at NMIMS where our Managing Trustee highlighted the need for crating awareness about mental health, removing the stigma attached to mental illnesses, the need to seek help as well as creating a profession in Mental Health.
“A number of factors impact the mental health status of women. These include their social surroundings, the environment at their homes, and their socio economic status. A large number of women in India struggle with mental and emotional associated with abusive spouses, financial problems as well as social discrimination. It is extremely important to create mental health awareness amongst the women and educate them about when and how to seek expert help,” said Dr Prakriti Poddar, eminent Counselor and Managing Trustree at the Poddar Foundation and Director Poddar Wellness Ltd.
The need to remove the stigma attached to mental health is another major concern in India and one of the simplest ways to get rid of this problem is to create awareness and education about mental health. Creating adequate support systems for women at different levels is another important intervention that can make a significant difference in the lives of women. If educated and trained about mental health issues, Self Help Groups can play crucial roles in helping out members in distress.
“It is very important to create mechanisms of support to instill hope and a sense of empowerment, among them. Women members of Self Help Groups who stand together as a bloc to build a financial and social support network can also become a major support network for each other when it comes to mental health issues,” added Dr Prakriti.
There are around 33 districts in Maharashtra where bachat gats or Self-help groups are operating. In Maharashtra about 4 lakh women are members of these groups.