With rising cases of mental health challenges, especially following the coronavirus pandemic, Global Peace Foundation (GPF) India hopes to get ahead of the crisis by incorporating an ongoing program to bring awareness to mental health issues. Hoping to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health, the Mental Aid Program (MAP) is an initiative that brings youth together online to discuss heavy topics with compassion, kindness, and deeper understanding.
A major goal of the MAP program is to train GPF volunteers, interns, and participants so that they can provide better support, understanding, and care for themselves as well as to others going through a mental health issue.
Pal, who attended the first meeting in November 2021 said, “The session was indeed a good start. I would love to attend more of it and would suggest that we do it more often.” The program has indeed continued into the year 2022 with meetings both online and in-person, incorporating speakers, discussion groups, and games to highlight the topics.
“Thanks for the most valuable time spent and sessions with great learnings,” said Swathi after one meeting in February 2022, “These two months of sessions have been very inspiring and a wonderful experience… All who have shared your experiences and time along with me makes me feel stronger and better.”
Amazed and inspired by the range of topics that are sensitive in nature, participants were relieved and grateful to find a platform to discuss challenging subjects and felt empowered by their newfound knowledge and support group.
The program helped participants build a support system within their community, as well as online, to raise awareness about mental health and debunk the stigma surrounding it. Many felt that this kind of training and support allowed them to become better leaders and role models in their communities.