#Interviews

Divija Bhasin : Instagrammer Who Spreads Awareness About Mental Health Through Reels

divija bhasin

Mental health has been the face of everything but for the right issues in our country. Some days it is used as brownie points by brands, other seasons, the clouds of propaganda and insensitive journalism blind us to the sheer seriousness of these issues. One of the most outspoken and talented entertainers and mental health advocates of 2020 has been a funny and smart woman behind the username of awkwardgoat3, Divija Bhasin.

Divija Bhasin talks to SheThePeople about why wanted to use entertaining reels to spread information about mental health. She has completed her MSc in Clinical Psychology from University of Bath and is looking forward to pursue an M.Phil programme soon. Until then, there’s her reels. 

1.While most people are using reels for makeup and entertainment videos, you are using it to curate informational content on mental health. What’s your inspiration?

“I prefer watching to learn while studying in general. Sometime back I tried making a few TikToks for my friends initially when the platform started trending. Psychological concepts always revolved in my head while I watched videos and thought of spreading information in a manner wherein people can enjoy the way the message is reaching out. Also, I was quite nervous at the start but when people appreciated my work and I started believing more in myself. I want to continue spreading awareness about mental health so I can change the incorrect notions about mental health and let people know the harms of following pop-psychology. Psychology is a well-known science and I wish to convey its worth to people, specially in the Indian society where it is largely undermined.

mental health instagram2.What notions do you think in society can be corrected about mental health?

“There are many incorrect notions in society about mental health. First of all in India, the discourse around mental health is plagued by ignorance and neglect. The picture of mental health people have started with Salman Khan in “Tere Naam” and the idea of “pagal khanas” in general make the discourse scary and unrealistic to start with. People assume that therapy is extremely expensive and unaffordable, while it can undeniably be costly, there are free resources and sliding scale options in many areas now. The clock of conversations around mental health start with depression and end with depression in India, but there is so much more to it. “

3.What forms these ideas about mental health?

“Taking movies, pop culture, Bollywood, Hollywood, portrayal in web series and other pop-psychology sources as valid sources of information form such incorrect notions. It is very normal and natural for anyone to experience bad or unfavourable things in life and unnecessary dramatisation around the same has to end in order to look at things from a realistic and compassionate lens.

4.How can mental health be discussed more in our houses openly?

“I am actually planning a video on the very same topic. Young people have to understand how to approach their parents. They cannot start approaching a delicate conversation around mental health with a confrontational attitude. Conflict is not the way to go about it. Sure, most of the parents may ignore it or discard the discussion altogether. However, if you speak to them about:

  1. What you have been experiencing
  2. How is that affecting you
  3. What are your feelings about the same
  4. Your expectations from therapy
  5. Benefits of seeking expert advice/counsellors in your case

There is a huge chance that if these factors are written about first and then communicated to one’s parents in an amicable way, they shall understand and try to cooperate. Do not blame your parents for not holding mental health under the spotlight since they have not been taught about its necessity and significance. Their perspective is totally valid as per their conditioning and even if you do not appreciate it, it is important to try to accept it. “

5.Do you think gender plays a huge role in mental health? If so, how?

“This is extremely subjective as everybody goes through individual struggles and problems. Like I said before, unfavourable or undesirable things happen to everyone without fail. Having said that, yes definitely, gender is a construct which can affect the intensity of those undesirable obstacles and women, along with other marginalised communities bear the brunt of those more often than the privileged sections. “

6.Is there a message you want to give to the audience?

“I wish to convey that experiencing mental health problems is extremely natural and normal. There is no anomaly in the same.  Accepting both positive and negative emotions is important. Acknowledgment of the same is crucial for a healthy emotional life. “

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