The novel coronavirus has been on a rampage ever since it started spreading, and has disrupted daily lives across the globe. Communities and individuals have been badly affected at every level. And the extremely delicate student community hasn’t been spared as well, as the way forward looks challenging.
Aarathi Selvan, a clinical psychologist and a national certified counsel who founded ‘Pause for Perspective’, says, “My journey at Pause for Perspective began five years ago with a dream to work for women, children and families. The hope is to elevate the lives of all and in particular the lives of the marginalised — women, children, queer and religious minorities. We are a team of 15 mental health professionals today.”
Sharing a few tips for the student community, the expert counsellor says that these are unprecedented times, and stresses on the importance of staying calm and optimistic. “We are all stressed and it is understandable that those in 10th,12th and last year of their undergraduation have harder time grappling with how to dream for their lives ahead, their careers ahead considering no one knows when everything will go back to normal,” says Aarathi.
As a remedy, the experienced psychologist underlines the importance of ‘reimagining’ self-care in these times of distress. “Youngsters should rather recreate spaces of safety with whatever they have got. It becomes important for them to reach out and connect to people virtually; people who have always been caring and supporting them,” feels Aarathi.
Talking to parents and friends, trying to enjoy the ‘little things’ around you, re-establishing a few old ‘friendships’ and even getting rid of a few ‘toxic’ ones! would be rather good options as well in this lockdown period.
Aarathi feels it is important to acknowledge the ‘sadness and loss’ and begin to rework plans for the future. Neither the world nor its people will be suffering this way forever. Talking to someone with whom you can work on planning your future, would be a decisive step forward.
On a serious note, Aarathi advises students to take the help of ‘therapists’ in case they are living in homes where there is violence, homonegativity, constant criticism or helicopter parenting. In such instances, there are free therapy helplines like the iCALL or a student-friendly sliding scale at ‘Pause for Perspective’ that they can always reach out to.
‘Pause for Perspective’ has seen a strong presence in the city over the years, addressing the importance of mental health and acceptance. They have always been diversity aware and ensure that the psychological-socio-political aspects of mental health are at the centre of their interventions with the aim of empowering individuals!
Being a a queer affirmative, patriarchy deconstructing and mindfulness-based mental health organisation that actively advocates mental health and well-being for all, the activities of ‘Pause for Perspective includes counselling for individuals and families, assessment, daily online meditation practice, group therapy, mindfulness programmes for mental and emotional well-being, free weekly mindfulness meditation sessions, free mental health awareness sessions for colleges, schools, NGOs and corporates and also several continuing education programmes for mental health professionals.
The organisation has reached out to several schools in the city such as Oakridge, Hyderabad Public School and Gitanjali High School with their mental health guidance programmes. In the year 2019-2020, they could serve over 11,000 students and teachers in Hyderabad, over 5,000 college students and employees in several other organisations as well.
To be happy, live peacefully with confidence & dignity is the right of every human being and a leveling platform for everyone to achieve their dreams & aspirations is vital for a just society. To express ourselves, live life to the fullest, being true to our soul is nothing short of joy!
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