Kanyakumari To Leh: A Walk To Spread Awareness on Mental Health

My online campaign will have a limited reach, as more than 50% of the population don’t have access to the Internet.

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My Report
2 min read

Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
Video Producer: Maaz Hasan

One student dies by suicide every one hour in India, with about 28 such suicide cases reported every day, according to data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The NCRB data shows that 10,159 students died by suicide in 2018, an increase from 9,905 in 2017, and 9,478 in 2016.

Despite that, mental health issues are still a stigma in India.

To create awareness about mental health, I started an online campaign at change.org asking the Ministry of Education to incorporate the mandatory mental health curriculum in schools from Classes 9 to 12.

I realised my online campaign will have a limited reach as more than 50 percent of India’s population don’t have access to the internet.

That’s when I decided to walk the entire length of the country, from Kanyakumari to Leh, in order to connect with as many people as possible.

Starting my journey on 16 November, I walked through Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh, meeting various government officials, schools, local government bodies, private institutions, and social activists, getting signatures on petitions etc.

I have covered more than 2,000 KMs and have already reached Madhya Pradesh. I expect to reach Delhi by mid-March and Leh by mid-May.

I have overcome depression myself. If I don’t understand the pain, then who will?

It was my dream to serve the Indian Army. That dream almost got fulfilled when I joined the National Defence Academy (NDA). But, a spine injury permanently shattered my dream. There was this one week, where I had contemplated taking my own life.

I recovered over time, but the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which I suffered made me think about the status of mental health in India.

My purpose in life was to stand at the borders and protect lives. What I realised was, I don’t have to necessarily be at the borders to save lives. That’s when I decided to spread mental health awareness actively.

Through my walk, I hope the government will acknowledge the importance of this curriculum, and implement it in all schools. Please be a part of the movement. Please help me break the stigma. Please help me ring the alarm of the government and get their attention.

(If you feel suicidal or know someone in distress, please reach out to them with kindness and call these numbers of local emergency services, helplines, and mental health NGOs)

(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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