Taking to the streets to promote mental health awareness
Mental health advocate Zoya Ahmed recently launched an awareness campaign in the capital with the support of volunteers Diti Roy, Amena Ahmed, Fabia Firoze, Tahsin Navid, and some of the country's most popular young faces, including Tamim Mridha, Don Sumdany, and Swapnil Shojib.
They used impactful messages to raise awareness about mental health on popular routes, including the Banani 11 and Gulshan 2 circle. In our country, there is still a stigma attached to mental health. "Today's youth wants to change this perception and this is just a small step towards achieving a larger goal," Zoya shared.
This campaign was organised to alleviate the shame around mental health issues and emphasise the need of proper resources to cope with them. The event also highlighted the importance of mental health in workplaces and how this issue is crucial for everyone. The event got applauded by several individuals who felt connected with this cause.
Zoya has been digitally working on mental health awareness for the past few months. She has completed a course on Positive Psychology from The University of Sydney, during which she learnt a lot. She tries to share her knowledge through videos on social media.
Through this event, Zoya's team wanted to let people know that it is okay to talk about mental health. They chose posters that would connect with others and spread messages, both digitally and physically. "We wanted to convey the message that they are not alone when it comes to mental health issues and the fact that everyone has mental health but not necessarily a mental disorder," she explained.
The posters featured a few terms which are associated with conditions like anxiety and depression. When people want to talk about these issues, they are silenced and labelled as 'attention-seeking' and their problems are called off as a 'phase'. "The more everyone talks about it, the more normalised this topic will be. There is still a long way to go but change is inevitable," Zoya asserted.
The planning process for this event was fairly simple as Zoya knew people who would be interested in supporting this cause. Her team reached out to these specific people because each one of them could relate to a mental health issue, and had their own story to share.
Zoya mentions that people fail to differentiate between mental health and mental disorder. "Most people attach negative connotations with the term mental health. Ever since I have started working, I have realised that people feel more attached and comfortable when they see glamourised videos and funny memes, and they try to run away from the topic of mental health with mockery," she further said.
In the future, she intends to conduct such events on a regular basis, keep talking about mental health on social media, and start a portal on mental health. She also aspires to form an organisation containing reliable doctors to help people out, as well as recreational centre where people can come and get indulged in their hobbies so they get the happiness in doing what they like.