Changemaking to address mental health crisis

Vasundhara was elected an Ashoka Young Changemaker from India in May 2022. This story was written through a consultative process during their selection to our global community.

In the post-pandemic world, we are witnessing a burgeoning awareness of just how crucial mental health care is, how it permeates all realms of our life and how its negligence can have devastating consequences. A new wave of the conscientious and compassionate school of thought is on the rise- one that advocates for a rigorous self-care practice.

Acknowledging our inability to do things on certain days, making space for all kinds of feelings, taking regular mental health breaks, and being more empathetic towards ourselves are some of the new ideas being dispersed under this umbrella. Naturally, there has been an influx of organizations, start-ups and social initiatives that work to provide better, more accessible and more affordable mental healthcare services.

Vasundhara’s initiative Inspire Dose is one of them. “From a young age, I had been inclined towards mental health. To be honest I faced anxiety and very mild depression at different stages of my life and during the lockdown. Therapy sessions and spirituality helped me to cope. This made me determined to do something in this field,” she shared. In the world around her, mental health wasn’t even a topic of discussion. People around her dismissed conditions like anxiety and depression as a farce. “But I knew that the world is actually suffering," she said.

She started Inspire Dose with the mission to inculcate holistic ideas about mental health care. The organization is a confluence of spirituality and mental healthcare. “We aware people about spirituality and its importance. We encourage people to inculcate moral values in themselves,” she explained. With a small team of four, they work via conducting surveys about various mental health issues, launching free printable self-care journal pages, collaborating with podcasters and bloggers and publishing articles about mental health in local newspapers and magazines.

The team engages with over 1,500 people through their social media spaces. Their articles and podcasts have been featured on 10 platforms. Their free resources like self-care journals and anxiety surveys are popular among their community of 100. Recently, the team in collaboration with psychiatrists and psychologists, have started dispensing free counselling/therapy sessions for their community. “The counselling sessions are available for all age groups and are free of cost so no one will be deprived of counselling due to financial issues,” Vasundhara explained.

As she recalled her initial days of launching this initiative, she shared that, “the biggest thing I learned is that everyone has a calibre to make a difference in the world. It is only that one should be courageous enough to take the first step”. And that, even if the difference might look small during the initial phases, “one day it will make a really big difference.”

This story was written by Prachi Vats.