8th August, 2019
The three inspiring personalities having their expertise on the issues related to psychology, emotion and mental health were invited for the fourth episode of Youth Dialogue. The speakers were Diplove Gautam (CEO at Buddha Inn Meditation Centre, NPL Coach& Reiki Master), Bhawana Shrestha (Co-founder of My Emotions Matter) and Diwakar Joshi (Counselor, Life Coach). The subject of the discussion was – “Social Psychology in Mental Health”. The program was moderated by the Communication Officer at Glocal-Ms. Saru Pyakurel. The main discussion on the topic was about issues related to mental health, psychology and emotions and the dialogue concluded with a positive advices from our guests regarding mental health. Here are some highlights of the discussion.
- How do you see people’s conception towards mental health in the context of our country?
Mr. Diwakar Joshi highlighted the problems regarding mental health issues in the context of our country. He explained mental health issue to be a sensitive issue but is being ignored in our country due to misconception about it. Mental health is highly overlooked and neglected in Nepal. Despite the fact that mental health problem is one of the most prevalent health and human rights conditions in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Mental Health Gap Action Program (MHGAP), over 90 percent population who need mental health services have no access to treatment as well as there are routine and rampant cases of worst human violations targeted towards people with mental health problems. He also said mental health issues are taken as stigma in our society and the person can’t even discuss about it openly due to fear of the society. Tagged by the word “Paagl”, is the name given to people suffering from mental problems. Likewise, he also added, Nepal, a country of about 28 million populations has only one government run Mental Hospital. So, the condition is not good.
Mrs. Babita Shrestha explained- The word “heath” in general is understood to be healthy. Physical health is taken common. Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental illness. But, if the word mental is added, people term it as being unhealthy. People are ignorant; they do not focus on their daily behaviors, reactions and life style. The problem gets bigger, then only people visit psychiatrics. Mental health is a simple case which can be cured but it is taken as the stigma in our country.
Mr. Diplove Gautam agreed other speaker’s words. He added in the course of practically working, as per his experience he has met many people with various kinds of sufferings in their day to day life. He was able to discover an algorithm structure. He explained since our schooling we are taught not to get angry, hyper, not to be sad, not to think negative and many more. But we are human being and we face all kinds of feelings and emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, love, care, good things, bad things etc. And humans are taught not do certain things. Because of this, they are compelled to put their emotions onto themselves and the threshold is reached which make them suffer eventually. That is why, we need to express ourselves and be true to ourselves. If you are able to express, we will be able to bring the change and also deal with our mental problems and emotions.
What are the psychological problems seen in the youth these days? What is the status?
Mr. Diwakar Joshi adds there are lots of psychological problems seen in the youths these days like Anxiety, Depression etc. He explained his experience during anger management training; he was able to research about lots of problems which are a part of social psychology. He saw one major problem to be “Eating Disorder” in Youth these days. Likewise, sexual abuse is another sensitive issue that youth face and are not open about. It even leads to suicide problem. Another problem is technological distraction, the youths these days are engaged in their gadgets for hours using social networking sites. This also can create a problem. The society, norms and values plays a role even if you want to express your problems. Therefore, there are lots of problems still hidden.
Mrs. Babita Shrestha says psychological problems are common. We have the affinity to connect psychology and emotions with the word “problem”. For instance, she explained if something wrong happens e.g. Sexual Abuse, we have the right to get angry and react. But we are taught in our schooling not to get angry and other things. Likewise, the ability to handle problems comes from parenting. She said kids learn as per their parents behave. Kids since their small age copy their parents and develop mindset accordingly. It’s because they lack the capacity to judge their own emotions. So, one need to understand and express their emotions and should judge themselves either to respond or react to the situations.
Mr. Diplove says mental problem is a sensitive issue. Before labelling a person if he is really suffering, we need to find the evidence first. Eg. If a person says He/She is depressed, we limit the possibilities of the therapy. If we trust them, it means they are leading us, you are not leading them. He shared his experience that he has encountered these kinds of conditions. He, as a therapist assists the clients to make possible changes them rather than us making change for them. He believes Body and the Mind has the power to heal itself. That’s a part of human experience and everybody should go through the process.
Mrs. Bhawana Shrestha added rather than labeling people, we can label their emotions better to heal them and assist even better.
Mr. Diwakar also added, for labeling, we can use indicators like severity level and he says whatever we do, we need to assist the client better to cope up with the psychological problems.
How is psychological counseling done?
Mr. Diplove said there are various ways of counseling. There are numerous therapies like TFT, EFT, tree therapy, forest therapy, cuddling therapy etc. As the time changes, there are various new ways of counseling. Instead of digging past problems, we need to understand we have our present and future for ourselves. As per the evolution of therapy, we do have future oriented and solution oriented therapy like emotional intelligence approach. They are similar approach, which focus on creating the future. He also said if we come across strong beliefs or history, we do deep interventions. Our therapeutic process shouldn’t be focused on past history, rather it should focus on what do we want to be tomorrow. Mind when gets the clear image of what we want to do, we fall forward. He also said often times, he meets people and ask what do you want, they reply they don’t want to be sad. It means they were sad at some phase of their life and they don’t want to be sad again. So, our focus is how to convert these pictures of their sub-conscious mind into a new motivation. In that ways, future oriented, solution oriented psychological counseling is done and there are many ways of dealing problems.
Mrs. Bhawana said she don’t do any kind of therapy approach for counseling. But she uses emotional intelligence approach whose major phase is awareness. In this, one can start with daily reflections, simple conversation. If you ask someone their problems, that also can make a change. We need to express ourselves. We need to calculate our emotions, understand what makes us happy or sad. If something makes us happy, we can continue that and if something makes you sad, simply avoid that activity. Therefore, she suggested us to know ourselves first before knowing others.
Mr. Diwakar says there are different techniques and therapies. The therapy is set up seeing the problems. He also said the professional relationship with the client is the most important when dealing with their problems.
- The counselor and psychiatric specialist are just centralized in Kathmandu Valley. Even if we see, the awareness level is really low in other parts of the country regarding mental health. What is the situation?
Mr. Diwakar explained available mental health services in South-East Asia tend to be urban-centered and hospital-based, with the result that 80%-90% of populations have no access to treatment. Likewise, in Nepal people labeled as mentally ill are the worst victims of social violence; mainstream society still fails to acknowledge their suffering as a valid human experience that requires attention and support. Nepal, a country of about 28 million populations has only one government run Mental Hospital. In the public sector, counseling or psychotherapeutic services are found to be difficult to access due to the limited number of clinical psychologists. Only 2% of medical and nursing training is dedicated to mental health, and most qualified doctors and nurses work in the cities. The people in the remote areas have no knowledge regarding mental health. So, he insisted he has been doing mental health and psychology in different districts in Nepal to make them aware. He finds happiness in serving people.
Mr. Diplove said to help people, it’s not necessary to use certain aspects. He has been using various different techniques that connect minds and soul, use of mantras to awaken the feelings, emotions and so on. If we can integrate these phenomenons with counseling holistically, we can definitely bring the change. He concluded it is a positive approach.
What is actually “My Emotions Matter”? What are the activities you have been doing?
Mrs. Bhawana Shrestha is the co-founder of “My Emotion Matters” which is an organization which tries to create awareness. She said-“We work under emotional Intelligence. EI is the ability to recognize, understand and control our as well as of other’s emotions that definitely creates impact in the day to day activities. Though the acclaim of EI is new in Nepal, My Emotions Matters has initiated the approach to contribute in creating a world where people are more aware, more intentional and more purposeful. It is an education company which creates self-reflective learning experiences to develop emotional intelligence of students, teachers and working professionals. My Emotions Matter helps the participants to be self-aware by using the ‘LISTEN’ approach which is an acronym for Listen, Introspect, Share, Try, Express and Nurture. The participants are encouraged to listen their inner voice and self-reflect. My Emotions Matter provides them the platform to express and share their experiences.”
In What ways we can improve the condition of mental health of people?
Mr. Diwakar said the services and treatment towards mental illness of people shouldn’t be centralized just in Kathmandu Valley. There should be good awareness in the people of every area. Various motivational and psychological counseling programmes should be conducted in every parts of the country. He said that the government spends less than 1% of its total healthcare budget in this area. For mental health treatment, there is scarcity of resources such as trained manpower and service centers with proper infrastructures. The services that are available are centered in urban areas, which are costly and inaccessible to majority of the population. Therefore, the government should allocate budget for mental treatment too. The government should ensure the availability and accessibility of minimum mental health services for all the population of Nepal, in particular for the most vulnerable and under-privileged groups of the population, by integrating mental health services into the general health service system of the country, and by adopting other appropriate measures suitable to the community and the people. Scientific and modern tools and techniques should be used.
Any advice for youths listening us?
Mr. Diplove said we are born on the land of peace and eastern world should be known for well being. We do have several medicinal herbs used to make medicines called as Ayurveda and so on. We can utilize our origin for the well-being of the people. He added we do have enormous power to influence western processes and medicines too. Science has done lots of progress and it is ongoing. We can relate and connect mind, energy, science and research on the same fraternity. Whatever we do, it is for the well-being of people. We need to work together with our approaches. We need to work our self for our body. The best guide is our own inner voice. He said we have the power to control our mind and heart. So, we need to hear our inner voice and make our life beautiful and healthy.
Mrs. Bhawana Shrestha said we need to understand ourselves first. We know ourselves better. If we can identify what actually we want, we can deal with every problem.
Mr. Diwakar advised the youth to identify the problems because the problems are within us and the solutions too. We need to recognize that. It depends on us because it’s our feelings, thoughts, ideas and our emotions that matters.