NewsX was recently joined by UK-based Psychotherapist Diya Ganguly Mallick, Co-Founder of Psychonnect for an exclusive conversation as a part of its special series, NewsX A-List. Diya is ensuring that mental health is an integral part of mainstream healthcare. She spoke about her organization Psychonnect which facilitates Mental well-being, diagnostics, counseling & therapy service.

Talking about her reason for starting the organization despite being an academic Diya said, “Being born and raised in India, I have been exposed to traditional approaches like yoga, mindfulness meditation for mental health challenges, then my education and subsequent experiences abroad, on the other hand, exposed me to more scientific and empirical approaches for tackling the mental health challenges and then I realized, I had the unique opportunity to actually merge these new approaches together or rather create an ecosystem that will be a confluence of the traditional eastern approaches and scientific western approaches and that is the time I realized, I need to now step beyond my career in academia and do something for my country, my homeland India.”

Speaking about how can we break the stigma and how her organization is working to combat the stigma at the very grassroots level, Diya said, “This is a very serious issue, not only in India but worldwide, In Psychonnect, we have two approaches to it, the first is driven to our very own initiative which is the ARK charter, where we try to endeavor through the superficial layers of human interaction and engage in deeper conversation, which talks about the various facets of mental health awareness, recognition, and knowledge on the subject. The second approach is to reinvent the context in which mental health is projected, we all know mental health is predicted in a negative or depressing way in media, news, etc., so it’s important that people think good mental health is actually a lifestyle statement just like being vegan or like yoga.”

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Talking about how do we ensure that safety doesn’t stop at physical health but also includes mental health, Diya said, “As I mentioned earlier, mental health is connected to physical health, people cannot look after their physical health without giving attention to your mental health and it is also important to emphasise here that whenever you talk about this Virus or this pandemic, it has not only impacted our physical body but also on our mind. We’ll also be talking about this in our upcoming webinars, just to show how it’s going to be impacting on different populations.”

Talking about her journey in India, then in the UK, and how she actually decided that this is something that she would like to do, Diya said, “I actually narrate a story from my school days to answer this, I used a volunteer for an old age home as a child and then one thing I realized very quickly during that experience was that there were a lot of checks for physical parameters but there was nothing done for improving the subjective well-being of those people in that old age home and when I used to go there and talk to them, I used to have a magnificent impact on their well-being and I understood that it is quite therapeutic just by talking to them. I  began thinking there are so many checks being done for them for physical parameters but nothing is being done to check their mental well-being, that’s the time I realised I want to do something for improving people’s subjective well-being or improving their emotional state.”

Sharing with us the vision ahead for Psychonnect, Diya said, “As far as the immediate priorities are concerned, we are constantly developing internationally recognized courses, building our portfolios, we are partnering with globally recognized experts from UK, Australia, Europe, etc. What we want to do is that we want to create a platform where students in India will have access to international courses, because we believe in the motto of Make in India.”

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