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Breaking the Silence: Sharing Mental Health Stories to Create a More Compassionate Society

Pushpanjali Trust, Chandigarh, and University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), Panjab University, recently organized a Book release and Panel discussion on ‘Mental health: Awareness and Challenges’.

Addressing the gathering, Prof. Rumina Sethi, Dean of University Instruction, at Panjab University, said, “We need to tell more stories of persons with mental illnesses in order to remove the stigma in our society.”

“Early diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses increases the chances of recovery, but every case is different so we can’t generalize,” said Dr Adarsh Kohli, retired Professor of Clinical Psychology from PGIMER Chandigarh.

“Most of the Psychiatrists and mental health services are concentrated in the cities, while the rural areas are neglected. The government must make more equitable investments in mental health infrastructure,” said Dr B K (Simmi) Waraich, Senior Psychiatrist.

Prof. Rajinder Kaur, Chairperson of UILS, spoke of the positive outcomes of the mental health workshops organized for their students by Pushpanjali Trust, and consequently, a need to further disseminate information on mental health among students and faculty across Panjab University.

Prof. Simrat Kahlon, Dean of Students Welfare, Panjab University, also spoke of the need to break barriers and talk about mental health without any fear or shame.

Aditya Vikram, Managing Trustee, Pushpanjali Trust, spoke of the need to publish a book on mental illness in Punjabi that could be easily understood by the masses. “While we have radical new laws on mental health and disability that bestow a lot of rights, there is very little awareness among the general masses,” he added.

The panel discussion was followed by a lively question and answer session; the audience included students, faculty, and the general public.

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