Of Peace and Purpose: A Conversation with Priyanka Joshi on the Importance of Mental Health Literacy in Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health, the word has become quite familiar with us from the last three years. Since the word has hit by the COVID pandemic, we have been facing a number of mental health issues on a regular basis. Many people experience stress for their work-pressure, many people feel depressed for loneliness, whether others feel anxious for the uncertainty of the future.

However, people are not enough aware of their mental health issues yet. We have a long to go to see the day when people will give equal importance to their mental health as their physical health. And for this, we need more mental health advocates joining hands to spread awareness around diverse mental health disorders and how to identify the state of mind when you have reached to the extreme point when you need to consult with a professional for the expert guidance.

Along with mental health awareness, we need mental health literacy to spread words around this stigma and only then, people will become aware of their mental wellbeing as they prioritize their physical wellbeing.

Welcome to Of Peace and Purpose. Today our guest is Priyanka Joshi, a renowned mental health blogger who advocates this cause to bring a change in the world and remove this stigma from the society. In today’s discussion, we have covered topics like mental health literacy, mental health awareness in schools and colleges, tips for taking care of your mental health and some other topics on mental health.

Join the conversation here.

TPS: Hello Priyanka! Welcome to the series, Of Peace and Purpose. Being a mental health blogger, you are vocal about mental health literacy. But many people are not aware of this term. So, I want to know from you, what is meant by Mental Health Literacy?

P: Mental health literacy in simple language is the ability to comprehend your thoughts and feelings. Understanding the disorders, and being able to seek help when needed and for that more and more conversations are needed around mental health.

It is not only the awareness but the usage of the right language to express one’s emotions and feelings that help one to seek appropriate and timely help.

TPS: You are right. I believe, seeking help from a professional needs courage from the mental health fighter, but first, we need to be aware of the issues we have been facing so that we can assure ourselves that ‘something is wrong’. Priyanka, what do you think about the importance of mental health literacy for mental health awareness?

P: Mental health literacy is an important part of creating awareness because unless and until people will learn to name their feelings, and understand why they are feeling what they are feeling, how will they be able to help themselves?

I have been working in this area for the past six years and I learn each day. Mental health literacy is very important when it comes to spreading awareness because mental disorders are very sensitive and personal. One needs to be very open to learning and unlearn a few things if one wants to spread awareness.

TPS: True, indeed. Learning has no end. But Priyanka, I am curious to know, how did you come to know about mental health literacy?

P: As a mental health blogger, when I create content around mental health, I try to give my best to the readers. I am completely from a non-psychological background but have a crystal-clear aim of spreading awareness in the right manner. Hence, I research, read, and interact with a lot of sources and people from the respective field.

Recently, I interacted with Professor Raghu who is a mental health professor at De Montfort University and we had a lengthy discussion over the same topic, you can also check out this video where we are talking about mental health literacy.

TPS: That’s wonderful. Thanks for sharing the video. Priyanka, how do you feel about how we can educate more people with proper mental health literacy?

P: We cannot make everyone understand our feelings and thoughts, but we can enable others to talk openly about their feelings. Instead of falling for the false perceptions and glamourization of mental health disorders, we can try to keep things real, help others to be honest with their feelings, accept them, and be mindful of their situation.

It is very natural to not be able to understand all the emotions through the process but we at least be open to active listening and give people a non-judgmental space to open up.

Sometimes a person is not even looking for solutions, they just want to be heard and when we are literate enough to be mindfully present in the situation and just be with the person, I feel it pretty much helps that person to mellow down a bit.

TPS: As someone who have been there, I can understand it well. Sometimes, all we need is to be heard. I really hope more people become aware of mental health literacy in the coming years so they can seek help when they need it the most. Priyanka, you host a series on your YouTube channel and you are also a podcaster. What do you do with your Humanity Ki Chain series and your podcast Mental Health First?

P: “Humanity ki Chain” is my mental health video series on my YouTube channel wherein I invite guests from all walks of life. Through this series, I try to bring out different insights, fresh perspectives, true warrior stories, and expertise for my audience.

I came up with its first season in 2019 and never thought I would end up recording 17 episodes. In 2021, I came up with the second series of mental health awareness videos and took interviews with 10 individuals from different walks of life, and gathered a lot of valuable insight. So far I have published 2 seasons with 27 episodes.

My podcast “Mental Health First” is listed among the top 10 mental health podcasts and is my audio wellness series, where I talk about ways of dealing with daily stress and taking complete charge of life. I have published more than 50 episodes to date.

TPS: Kudos to you for the great work you are doing. Priyanka, do you think it is important to add a dedicated course on mental health awareness to the curriculum in schools and colleges? If yes, why do you think so?

P: Absolutely, in fact, I had also signed a petition at change.org pleading for the same. Adding even a basic part of mental health and well-being can lead to a lot of positive outcomes in the coming future.

If we can teach our coming generations about how bullying, color shaming, and body shaming, which is a very pre-dominant form of making fun in school, can brutally damage someone’s confidence and self-esteem, we can surely prevent a lot of further internal damage.

TPS: Priyanka, as a mental health blogger, you have been doing an amazing job with your blog and other projects. Would you like to share your tips on taking care of our Mental Health?

P: The best way to take care of your own mental health is by drawing boundaries and working on self-awareness. Remember, health is wealth and there is no complete health without mental health. You are stronger than you imagine, more evolved than you give yourself credit for, and surely more empowered than society thinks.

Do not give up on your autonomy. You and only you should be in absolute control of your life, your thoughts, and your desires. Giving a part of yourself to build others is a noble thing but to give up your sanity is disastrous. Take complete charge of your mental health because there is no health without mental health.

Meet the Guest:

Priyanka Joshi is a mental health blogger and founder of Sanity Daily, dedicated to helping individuals achieve optimal mental health and well-being. Her blog is all about providing practical tips, insights, and evidence-based strategies to help individuals improve their mental health and well-being. Whether you are struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, or any other mental health issue, her blog has something for you. Apart from being a blogger, she is a certified Neuro-Linguistic Program Practitioner. She applies her expertise to create content that is insightful, informative, and helpful to her readers.

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