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Calendar to raise awareness about mental health issues

Two years ago, Fredly Poyyail, 25, would suffer severe panic attacks when it came to travelling by train.

mumbai Updated: Mar 26, 2012 01:18 IST
Bhavya Dore

Two years ago, Fredly Poyyail, 25, would suffer severe panic attacks when it came to travelling by train. A childhood incident had left him fearful, and when he came to Mumbai in 2010, the prospect of commuting by local train induced in him breathlessness, cold sweat and giddiness. This panic attack problem overwhelmed him to such an extent that it began to interfere in his daily life and he couldn’t even step out of the house.

Now, a year-and-a-half after taking treatment, he has recovered. A month ago, he started working at a travel agency. He travels by local train to work every day.

Poyyail, is one of 12 people who is featured on a table-top calendar, launched on Sunday, with stories of people who have faced a range of mental health issues — from schizophrenia to depression — and then recovered.

“It is very exciting to be featured,” said Poyyail. “I thought, why not? There might be others who do not know about this, and maybe I can help people.” The calendar, by profiling 12 people, their problems, their stories and their recovery, aims to spread awareness about various mental health issues.

“We thought we should do this by getting ordinary people to talk about their problems,” said Dr Fabian Almeida, a psychiatrist, who came up with the idea and whose 12 patients are featured.

The calendar, running from April this year to next March has a page devoted to each case. There is the nine-year-old who suffered from a refusal to go to school, another child who had attention deficit disorder, a man who went through depression after losing his wife. The calendar will be launched at the team’s counselling centre on Sunday and the team is still working on how to go about popularising it.