BIS #6880 K3G: A Celebration of Feelings

By Fr Joaquim Fernandes for BISMumbai

Prafulta, Centre for Psychological Wellness, (A Don Bosco Institution) conducted an event called ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham: A Celebration of Feelings’. With a view of affecting a paradigm shift from Mental Health Awareness to Mental Health Action, this ‘Mental Health Mela’ was organized on the grounds of St. Dominic Savio, Andheri (East) on 22 January 2023. Fr Savio Silveira, Salesian Provincial of the Province of Bombay, and Mr Oswald D’Souza, a representative of L&T Energy Hydrocarbon, were the Chief Guests for this programme. Larsen & Toubro Energy Hydrocarbon (LTEH) has supported this event as their CSR initiative.

Fr Godfrey D’Sa, Founder and Executive Director of Prafulta, said that ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’: A Celebration of Feelings’ is an event organized to reach out to students who do not have access to mental health facilities in their neighborhood, particularly for the most vulnerable and underprivileged section of our population. Looking back at Prafulta’s 25-year-journey, Fr D’Sa states, "We have mental health care for children, teens and families. Our focus as mental health Caregivers is to restore dignity and hope and be compassionate, de-stigmatize mental health and encourage people to access help and treatment available in order to live life in all its fullness.”

Fr Silveira, while addressing the gathering said, “What Prafulta stands for and we at Don Bosco believe in very much, is about well-being and living life in its fullness. That is precisely the mission of Don Bosco, that every young person particularly enjoys life positively and to the fullest.”

Mr D’Souza said, “ Mental health is a very crucial issue today. I come from the corporate world and it’s a fast-paced world. We really don’t have the time to pause and think about mental health and how it affects people. I am happy that L&T Energy Hydrocarbon is collaborating with Prafulta on this crucial issue.”

Over fifty Mental Health Caregivers have got together to create fun-filled activities for children and their parents. Around eighty psychology students from St. Xavier and Nanavati Colleges facilitated and assisted in this event. About 3600 children along with their parents participated in this fun-filled event.

Ms. Shalu Mehrotra, Senior Pyschotherapist at Prafulta and the chief coordinator of the event, said “It’s a joy to see both children and parents taking part so eagerly in all the activities that have been organized. After the pandemic, many have come to realize how fragile the mind is and if we do not take care of it, the consequences can be disastrous. We believe that normalization of conversations around mental health will eventually lead to better mental health care.”

The afternoon included mental wellness activities and children learned how to handle difficult emotions like anger, sadness, nervousness, and fear, and be happy and positive through the medium of art and painting, storytelling, dance and movement, graffiti corner, pottery and a lot more. The many activities provided an opportunity for the students to explore fun hobbies and activities that they enjoy, which ultimately help in reducing stress. Simultaneously, a parenting programme and career guidance stall with facilitators had programmes that guided the parents to lead a stress free life. The parents got an opportunity to speak to the psychiatrists and the senior psychologists and discuss all their concerns as well as receive some ‘Effective Parenting’ strategies and practical strategies for Self Care.

Prafulta: Centre for Psychological Wellness, has various psychological services like counseling & psychotherapy, career guidance, psychiatry, occupational therapy, remedial education, training courses for professionals and several workshops and community outreach programs in schools and community centers in the city of Mumbai. It was founded in the year 1998 and is celebrating its Silver Jubilee this year. By this invaluable contribution in the field of mental health, Prafulta has indeed been a blessing in the city of Mumbai.