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S01E01 Ayan Jeloka and Nishkarsha Bangarigadu Speaks on The Importance of Mental Health Awareness

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

We live in an era where almost every third person is a fitness enthusiast. With 90 million Health Conscious Individuals (HCIs), India’s affluent who live in urban areas are both aware and concerned about lifestyle-related health issues. (1) While constantly working towards keeping oneself physically healthy is great, these urban affluent fall short just as the rural population in the country on another aspect: mental well-being. According to a 2011 census, more that 7.22 lakh people across the country were suffering from “mental illness” (2), with COVID-19, it’s only expected to rise.

According to WHO, approximately 450 million people in the world currently have mental health conditions that are the leading causes of ill-health and disabilities. Although treatments are available, nearly two-thirds of people never seek help from a mental health professional (psychotherapists, counselling psychologists, psychiatrists). (3) The data available as of 2017 states that an estimated 792 million people lived with a mental health disorder. This is slightly more than one in ten people globally (10.7%). (4)

In the first episode of It's Kritikal!, my guests Ayan Jeloka, a young professional living in Hyderabad, India and Nishkarsha Bangarigadu, a teacher and psychologist from Mauritius talk about mental health and its importance. While none of us are mental health professionals, all three of us agree on how important it is, in our daily lives.

Illustration by Sid Bishnu

Some of the things we discussed on the podcast are -

  1. Support System: most of us NEED a SUPPORT SYSTEM! Here's an article explaining how and why you can turn to your social support (having a network of family and friends) in times of need. (5)

  2. Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD): common in teenagers and young adults, BDD is a mental health condition where an individual worries a lot about flaws in their appearance. (6)

  3. Body Shaming: although it's a fairly new term, in practice, body shaming has existed for a long time. Body shaming, as the name suggests, is shaming someone for their body shape or body type. This includes making fun of, criticizing or mocking someone based on their skin colour, body size, body type, hair and skin texture, hair length and even the clothes one chooses to wear. Here are some links to learn more

    1. This is what body shaming is doing to your mental health: Why you should refrain from body shaming

    2. Body Shaming: What Is It & Why Do We Do It?

    3. Words Have Power: Can they lead to an eating disorder?

  4. Self-help Interventions: through regular reflection and introspection, we take a few steps forward in keeping a check on our mental health. Recognizing our own needs is of utmost importance. Here's a research paper that talks about how guided self-help can play a major role in mental health care.

  5. Psychotherapy: According to, Psychotherapy or talk-therapy, helps people to cope up with mental and emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy helps people in identifying, eliminating and/or controlling troubling symptoms. (We'll cover it in detail in the third episode).

Read here about the current state of mental health in India during COVID-19.

Globally, mental health disorders remain widely under-reported and while seeking and getting help is an urban privilege, there is a dire need to address this on a global scale where awareness, education and help reaches people from every walk of life . As per WHO (3), the stigma around mental health, discrimination of people who try to come out and talk about it and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders. Where there is neglect, there is little or no understanding. Where there is no understanding, there is neglect.

For a lighter version of this topic, listen to our podcast here (coming to your favourite podcast directories soon) or directly at Spotify here.

To get regular updates, you can follow us on these platforms .

To connect with Ayan you can refer to these links here:

Twitter: Ayan Jeloka

LinkedIn: Ayan Jeloka

Other Links:

To connect with Nishkarsha you can refer to the links here:





  4. Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2018) - "Mental Health". Published online at Retrieved from: '' [Online Resource]










For any feedback or suggestions, please write to me at Happy listening/reading/viewing! :D


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