While we head towards International Youth Day on 12th August, Safecity is taking this opportunity to honour women peacebuilders through this series on Women Peacebuilders. We invited women peacebuilders to speak of their experience of using different tools towards peacebuilding in an attempt to showcase the massive change women leaders are bringing towards developing peace and to build collective learnings for those who want to be engaged in peacebuilding processes.
Series curated by Vandita Morarka
Edited by Renita Siqueira
Pragya Lodha is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in Mumbai. She has been working to promote better mental health and develop strategical aid to make mental health services more acceptable and accessible. Pragya is an Assistant Editor for the Indian Journal of Mental Health that encourages writing from people in several capacities to write for better mental health. Presently, she also serves in the capacity of the Indian Coordinator for an Indian-European project to develop socially innovative ways for better mental health solutions.
- What got you started on your peace journey?
Pragya: The human civilization has constantly worked, fought and striven to achieve peace. In multiple contexts, peace is also seen in parallel connotations to happiness. Being a clinical psychologist, my journey has always had peace-building as an essential requisite. Having worked in various settings over the last 4 years, I realized that harmonious living is something that everyone has been striving for; increasingly so, in the recent times. Working to promote better mental health has an underlying goal of peace which I have always aimed for, through awareness, training, management, developmental work and therapy goals.
- How have you engaged with mental health towards Peacebuilding?
Pragya: I have Largely by conducting awareness programmes or talks and discussion about mental health at the college and community level, conducting therapy and training volunteers to promote better mental health- attaining peaceful living has been one of the crucial crux. Rehabilitation and reintegration of clients in the community is also an on-going development that I believe is essential to promote peace building and rightful living.
- What are the challenges you have faced?
Pragya: The taboo and stigma regarding mental health issues has been a challenge, largely because of the unwillingness of many to change their approach. The failure to recognize change as an adaptive one has also ensued. The process, though slow, is one of potential in order to change the scenario of mental health in India. Trends are changing wit time and it gives an optimistic push to continue work for the same.
- How do you think the mental health can be leveraged better towards Peacebuilding?
Pragya: Better mental health promotes for sound living and a sense of fulfillment among people- which I believe is essential in the peace building process. When we grow to become responsible of ourselves, the burden of striving reduces to a great extent, enriching the quality of life. A sound mental health also promotes for better physical health and an increased sense of responsibility to contribute not only towards one’s own development but also for societal growth.
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