‘LovvYouZindagi’ - Jury meets to select winners of this unique mental health contest

‘LovvYouZindagi’ - Jury meets to select winners of this unique mental health contest

Psychotherapist Minu Budhia, the pioneer of ‘LovvYouZindagi’ (a ‘Caring Minds’ initiative), in her mission to spread mental health awareness among the youth, launched this unique contest which, through creativity, educates the participants about mental health. They have received an overwhelming response and now the external jury is meeting for the final round of judging.

The external judges are US consul general Melinda Pavek; British deputy high commissioner - East and Northeast India, Nick Low; Professor Suranjan Das, vice-chancellor Adamas University; actor Rituparna Sengupta; actor and MLA June and Sudha Kaul, founder of Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy.

“I can’t express how overjoyed I am to see the quantity and quality of entries from both high school students and young professionals. I didn’t expect ‘LovvYouZindagi’ to be a success in the first year, but it has surpassed my expectations. The enthusiastic participation across all six categories has shown me how truly talented our youth are and how much they want to express themselves. Each entry is a unique story, a key to unlocking the mind of the creative individual who has put their heart and soul into their submission. My team and I are learning so much about what the youth wants and needs in terms of emotional and mental well-being. Our internal round of judging is done and we’re looking forward to our celebrity judges choosing from the best entries,” said Minu Budhia.

She added, “We were curious about the types of entries and this is what we learnt. Several entries took a specific approach, focusing on mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and several others, while others took an umbrella approach emphasising why mental health is important. Another sizable section shared their personal battles with stress, loneliness, body image issues, bullying, fears and their hopes and dreams to turn their personal challenges into victories. Every entry has shown the amount of research that has been done along with how deeply each applicant has looked into their own heart and mind. The simple act of creating hasn’t only taught them about mental health but also will make their families, friends and loved ones aware too. Each applicant is now someone who will help break the stigma in their circles.”

Urging youngsters not to limit themselves, Rituparna said, “I’m really excited to be a part of it and looking forward to reading the shortlisted entries. I think it’s a brilliant initiative and am so happy to be a part of it. Minu has a unique take on life; she sees everything a little bit differently. Like looking through a stained-glass window, she finds beauty in the ordinary and colour in black and white. In all the years I’ve known her, she has never failed to surprise me with her creativity, so it’s no surprise that she came up with a creative way to make people aware of mental health. I find the concept totally interesting; it makes me want to take part.”

“I’d say you should try different types of creative mediums and don’t just limit yourself to the one you are good at. Even if you can’t draw a straight line, make art. Even if you can’t hold a note, sing. Even if you’re terrible at remembering lines, act. The more creative activities you embrace, the more creative you become,” she added.

“Minu, in whatever she does, adds a touch of specialty and uniqueness. She has done the same with her initiative ‘LovvYouZindagi’. I love the fact that it doesn’t talk directly about mental health, but it makes us aware of mental health issues, nonetheless. I’d start more conversations about mental health. The more we talk, the more we break the stigma. The more awareness we spread, the more lives we touch,” said June, who said that if she could participate in the contest, she’d choose the mini-documentary and the tagline contest.

“ ‘LovvYouZindagi’ is a right initiative which is being undertaken at the right moment. ‘Caring Minds’ has been at the forefront of the process of destigmatising mental health issues among children and generating a scientific temper among us to generate a supportive environment for children with special needs, thereby creating conditions for a compassionate and inclusive society. We need to include courses on mental health in the teaching-learning process to break the stigma of mental health,” said Suranjan, adding that the campaign has instilled in him a sense of social responsibility to contribute to the wellbeing of those children affected by issues of mental health.

Terming ‘LovvYouZindagi’ as exciting, thought-provoking and perceptive, Sudha said, “It’s important to talk about mental health openly with both adults and children. The media can play an important and positive role in creating awareness. More campaigns like ‘LovvYouZindagi’ should be planned.” She also encouraged young minds to grab the opportunity with both hands: “Here’s an opportunity for you to be an influencer. By learning about mental health, you can play an active role in changing attitudes towards persons who have mental health issues.”

“I’m honoured, to be honest. Minu brings compassion, inclusivity and above all, excellence to everything she does. ‘LovvYouZindagi’ will be no different. I’d ditch the word ‘mental’. I think it’s loaded and brings all those connotations from school, where ‘mental’ was interchangeable with ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’. I think that’s where the stigma comes from. Someone with mental health issues isn’t quite right. We wouldn’t say that about someone with respiratory issues or a very sensitive gut, would we? Why should it be any different?” said Nick.

“I frequently talk about the need for all people, regardless of gender or age, to learn to express our emotions in a healthy way rather than repress them. Processing and feeling our emotions and consciously making the connection between our body and mind and understanding that the two are linked improves our mental and physical health and is an inherently human capability. As we learn more about how our brains operate, the stigmas around talking openly about mental health will naturally reduce. In many places around the world, we are already seeing mental health being treated with the same level of care as physical health, to the benefit of the individual and greater society,” Melinda said.

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