Everyone feels anxious; it is natural to feel so at some point of time. The problem is that people do not come out, share and ask for help when they need it. The major reason is the fear of being outcasted. The main aim of first the banner campaign and then the sticker campaign was to deal with this problem. We encouraged people to come out and share what makes them anxious.
For the banner campaign, our NGO partner White Swan Foundation provided us with banners to hang around the campus in areas with high foot fall. We first just wanted to start conversation around mental health. The theme of the banner campaign was, “It’s time to break the silence.”
Next, we planned the sticker campaign. We launched the campaign in both the messes during lunch and dinner times. As the classes ended people started pouring in. Bona, the Mana Maali psychologist who visited us this week, was very enthusiastic about the event. She talked to a lot of students, and her energy and motivation was very encouraging. Even Professor Kannan sir, our Mana Maali professor-in-charge, and our sporting professor Bijil sir were there taking part.
Here are some photos of our team members with their stickers. All were tired but still so enthusiastic!
Some people volunteered to help us as our team was not big enough to handle a sticker campaign happening on such a large scale. The volunteers were very enthusiastic, to be honest. The dedication with which they worked (volunteers and the team) was amazing. Not to mention the Bitsians were very supportive and almost everyone agreed to wear that sticker after knowing about Mana Maali and the motives of the campaign.
Here are some photos of students and their anxiety stickers:
If you want to see all of them, here they are!
The event wouldn’t have been such a huge success without these amazing people! We also interviewed some of them and they took the time to give us some valuable feedback and suggestions. I had my doubts about whether people would agree to write and stick the stickers, whether people would understand the aim of the campaign and Mana Maali. But as it turned out, we had a great response; people were very open and supportive.
Let me give you the example of myself and how this campaign changed my views. A lot of people wrote that exam stress or being indecisive makes them anxious. I am usually a person who gets really stressed before exams, but this time during test 1 (just ended!), I knew that it wasn’t just me. I felt that it is okay and normal to be stressed and I actually felt better.
Then there were people who wrote that exceeding their data limit makes them anxious (that’s true for everyone I guess :)).
The overall experience was amazing and I am looking forward to working more with the team. Mana Maali is a great initiative and I chose to be a part of the team because I feel it addresses an issue that is prevalent but not given attention. I am also looking forward to taking the mental health self-assessment survey when it launches in a few weeks and join the program if I want to. I urge you all readers to take the survey, too. All the information is completely anonymous and I am confident even trying the program will only impact your life and mine for the better.
Special thanks to Bona for the support and Rohan for coordinating our team and the amazing week we had working together.
~Prerna (far left, below)