Aaryani Sahay joined us on this week’s episode of ‘The Real Changemakers‘ on India Ahead. She is the co-founder of an NGO called ‘Let’s Talk’ which aims to spread mental health awareness amongst the adolescence and encourages them to seek help.
She started her journey of tackling the stigma around mental illness in eighth grade at the age of 13 when she saw that her friends who were going through mental health issues were hesitant of seeking support due to the fear of being judged or stigmatised. That is what propelled her to start the project Let’s Talk with her friend Kashish. She says that while private schools still have an understanding of mental health and they do have counselors, the same does not hold true for many government schools, adding that knowledge about mental health should be made available across India to people of different backgrounds.
Sahay says that Let’s Talk’ works toward shifting mindsets towards talking about mental health. She also says that actor Deepika Padukone coming out and sharing her struggle with mental illness helped in spreading awareness that it can impact people from all backgrounds.
She says she works with youth on a one-on-one level and is involved with an organisation called Ashoka innovators for the public where they share stories of young people becoming changemakers. She also works with people who want to start an initiative, brainstorming on ideas with them. She says that it helps to start small and anyone can be a changemaker.
She believes that nothing can substitute face-to-face connection, but social media has been an important tool during the Covid-19 pandemic for being in touch with others, adding that people just need to be mindful while using it. She also says that schools should have a mental health curriculum and it is her dream to see one in every school in India.