Divija Bhasin, an Instagrammer who is spreading awareness about mental health
Divija Bhasin is the quintessential next door, and that’s what makes her more relatable to those who are looking for some simple and effective mental health advice. She goes by the name of awkwardgoat3 on Insta, and her posts on anxiety, depression, etc are a treat to watch.
Divija is a psychologist, who is armed with an MSc in Clinical Psychology from the University of Bath. This mental health influencer is planning to pursue an M.Phil programme in the near future.
We already know how important mental well-being has become in the last few years, and more so during the pandemic. Yet, there are several aspects that remain unheard of.
That’s exactly why on this women’s day, we decided to get in touch with this millennial instagrammer, who has been consistently trying to amp up conversations around mental health on social media.
DIVIJA, WHY DO YOU THINK TALKING ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE?
“Mental health is a part of every aspect of our life, be it family, profession, friendship, and even finance. All these things impact our mental health and vice-versa. We would be missing out on a very important factor in life, if we don’t talk about it,” explains Divija.
WHY DID YOU PICK SOCIAL MEDIA AS A PLATFORM, AS IT'S A TRICKY TERRAIN? HOW WAS THE RESPONSE?
To our surprise Divija doesn’t feel that social media is a tricky terrain. In hindsight, she thinks it’s a great way to connect with people.
“I love how I’m able to create awareness on such a large scale, so easily. The response has been quite overwhelming so far. People do appreciate my mental health content and seem to understand it as well,” she says.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TROLLED?
“Oh yes, I have been trolled often, since I make videos about social issues. There can be many perspectives there. People have differing opinions, and some of them aren’t able to put them across in a polite way, and that’s when the trolling happens,” she says.
ARE THERE A LOT OF MYTHS AROUND MENTAL HEALTH THAT PREVAIL IN OUR SOCIETY? WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON ONES, AND HOW CAN WE BRING IN MORE AWARENESS?
Here are some of the most common myths about mental health:
1. Mental health problems only happen to weak people.
2. Depression is the only disorder.
3. Medication is the only treatment for disorders and it is addictive.
4. People can just “not think” about their mental health problems, and they just need to “be positive”.
“It is not just me, but we all have to contribute to bring a change. We can bring awareness by talking about these things, reading about them. The most important one is to make sure the source of the information is credible,” she suggests.
YOU THINK IT'S HIGH TIME THAT WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH IN OUR HOMES, WITH OUR KIDS, AND EVEN PARENTS? WHY? WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GO ABOUT IT?
“Absolutely. It should be as common and normal as talking about a cold or a fever. If we don’t talk about it, we won’t acknowledge that there is a problem, and that will just make the problem worse. With kids, we can teach them how to verbalise their feelings early on. When it comes to parents, it can be a bit difficult to initiate conversation about mental health, since they might not be used to it, but a good way to do it would be to talk in a language they’ll understand. Don’t just say “I have been feeling anxious”. Explain how it stops you from doing things and there’s a higher chance they’ll understand or even relate,” she affirms.
DO YOU THINK GENDER PLAYS A ROLE, WHEN IT COMES TO MENTAL HEALTH?
Divija disagrees with this completely. According to her, gender has nothing to do with it. It’s generally various situations and circumstances that shape up our mental health.
PEOPLE HAVE A LOT OF MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THERAPY. CAN YOU SHARE THE MOST COMMON ONES THAT YOU’VE COME ACROSS?
“Some myths that I come across often are how therapy is like friendship or that it is the same as “venting”. Another myth is that you have to be “crazy” to go for therapy and that people without mental disorders don’t need it,” she adds.
CAN YOU SHARE SOME HANDY TIPS THAT CAN HELP OUR READER KEEP THEIR MENTAL HEALTH IN CHECK?
1. Learn to have boundaries and prioritise yourself.
2. Take breaks, when things get overwhelming.
3. Communicate how you feel, instead of avoiding it.
4. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re human and you’ll make mistakes. It’s okay.
HOW HAS THE JOURNEY BEEN SO FAR?
“My account has been gaining steady popularity, and while it is a lot of hard work, I am glad I am able to learn and also teach people things about mental health. It is like any other work - it has its ups and downs,” she says.
She also mentions that the response on her reels shows that people really just want an open, accepting, and non-judgmental environment, and someone to support them.
“And I’m here for them,” she says.
FOR THE READERS
“Start giving yourself importance and prioritising your mental health, as soon as possible,” she says while signing off.
(This story was originally published on HealthShots.com)