Our minds take drastic measures to ease the anguish, smart algorithms find patterns and study behaviors that allow the physician to easily diagnose and hence follow up with the required treatments.
Future AI Technologies could help destigmatize mental health. The possibility of mental health disorders being diagnosed as corporeally as diabetes or heart disorders would take down the embarrassment and discomfort around the topic. Scientist Pearl Chiu from the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory hopes for the same and is working towards making it a reality.
Many researchers are actively working to bring more innovative and realistic ways to use AI in the real world.
Uses Of Artificial Intelligence In Mental Health Care:
Even though the concept of using AI in a realistic and viable way is still advancing, there are quite a few that pave the road.
The machine learning algorithm which was created at Vanderbilt university medical center gathered the data(age, gender, medication, and diagnostic history) of more than 5000 patients admitted at the hospital for suicide attempts and self-harm to predict the possibility of the same person attempting suicide. The results of the trial proved to be 84% accurate for someone who would attempt to take their life the following week and 80% accurate for someone who might attempt in the coming two years.
Even smartphones have become practical resources. Phones with algorithms to recognize the changes in typing speed, voice tone, word choice, and also monitor the behavior of someone over a while could predict the mental health of the individual.
EAR(Effortless Assessment of Risk States) is a similar AI that uses smartphone data to find people in need of help because of psychological distress. Researchers believe that someday EAR would be able to pinpoint individuals at risk of suicide.
Facebook, a social media platform we are very familiar with, uses AI Algorithm to flag posts that show possible suicide threats or expressions that show psychological distress. The platform increased its efforts to locate high-risk posts after several users live-streamed their suicide attempts on the app in early 2017.
Digital interviews by virtual humans. The idea may seem bizarre but it is possible. Having a virtual assistant conduct a diagnostic interview with predetermined questions could bring drastic changes as virtual interviews eliminate the possibility of the interviewee feeling judged by a human. This also in turn opens up the opportunity for the person to communicate their emotions better.
24/7 chats bots, This AI-based technology helps us take care of our mental health. It connects with the user and efficiently works with them to give better results. The reason this stands out from other resources is its accessibility and affordability. Today, we are made available to many applications that track our moods and provides us with a detailed analysis of our daily mental health. It also includes other activities like meditation and relaxation tools. Some apps with such goals are:
It is important that we look into the void of human emotions, sometimes even birthed out of denial of our interests. AI makes this task easier. We can hope that many more Innovations are born to help us fight this battle more efficiently. Just because no one else can heal and bring light to your inner self doesn’t mean you have to do it alone or leave it unchecked, let AI be the aid for every mental health-related issue. There again the significant presence of emotional human intelligence is involved to lead another generation.
At times, most of us feel depressed or sad. This reaction is common after a loss or a difficult time. Although you may feel depressed, you could have something more severe going on if intense sadness lasts for many days or even weeks and stops you from functioning normally. An individual experiencing depression has the feeling that they are trapped in their voice, without any shape or form to define them.
Depression is a chronic and serious medical condition that can negatively affect your emotions, thoughts, and behaviour. It can cause feelings of sadness and/ or a loss of interest in activities you once loved.
"I found that with depression, one of the most important things you can realize is that you're not alone. You're not the first to go through it, you're not going to be the last to go through it." — Dwayne Johnson
Depression, though persistent, is not a temporary problem. It lasts for more than two weeks during each episode; it can be several weeks, months, or even years. According to the WHO, the prevalence of depression accounts for more than 264 million people in the world.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), also known as electroshock therapy used to be a popular treatment for depression
during times when it did not respond to other methods. But the psychological impacts on cognition made it difficult for use. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the process of passing small electrical currents through the brain to cause a brief seizure. It is performed under general anaesthesia.
Certain mental health conditions can be rapidly reversed by changing brain chemistry with the help of ECT. ECT has been stigmatized in part due to low doses of electricity administered without anaesthesia, leading to memory loss, bone fractures, and other adverse effects when the treatment was first introduced.
Unlike ECT, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulations (TMS) do not require the use of anaesthesia and the person will remain awake during the treatment. As an alternative to ECT, mental health professionals can now use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) which changes the brain's electromagnetic environment.
What does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulations(TMS) actually mean?
TMS devices operate completely outside the body and affect CNS activity by applying powerful magnetic fields to the specific area of the brain where depression (major depressive disorder) mainly occurs in adult patients who have failed to receive satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication in the current episode.
The most common side effects during the treatments are:
Seizures are a rare but serious side effect seen. TMS is not recommended for people who have had a head injury in the past or those with neurological issues.
This is now approved by the FDA in the USA and by NICE in the UK for the treatment of depression. The treatment is predominantly provided by private clinics.
Every single method or treatment has its pros and cons. The pros and cons are:-
Treatment sessions vary in length depending on the TMS coil used and the number of pulses delivered but typically last around 30-40 minutes. A series of treatments are required for TMS therapy. TMS, which takes 4 to 6 weeks for its full course, is provided 5 days a week to the patient. Depending on how well an individual responds to the treatment, this can vary.The patient is fully awake and aware throughout the treatment unlike ECT. In this procedure, there is no "recovery time". So the patients can drive home after the procedure and resume their routine.
There are different ways to perform the procedure, and techniques may change as experts learn more about the most effective ways to perform treatments. There is no denying that this therapy is a breakthrough in the field of mental health treatments and despite prior scepticism, the responses have been in general positive. It has improved many lives positively and encouraged the destigmatisation of depression. Such advancement of mental healthcare is the advancement of humanity as a healthy mind, is a healthy life.
Content Writer - Ratan Ravichandran
Content Editor - Dinili Gunewardana
Content Illustrators - Meagan Cassandra & Elsa Aziz
Science's most complicated entity is regarded widely as the self. People have such a diverse spectrum of attributes that it's challenging to comprehend what is occurring within them. However, the Self-concept theory provides a reasonable basis for acknowledging the significance and relevance of our conceptions of ourselves. An individual can have many views of themselves; someone who is friendly, tolerant, compassionate and supportive may erroneously assume that they are unkind, arrogant, and unyielding. Regardless of how many distinct views people have, only one perspective enables these findings, culminating in a unified, coherent self-concept. People are more prone to avoid altering their beliefs if they think that something is in line with their self-concept; they tend to hold on to their current self-perception for an extended period. However, although it may take a long time to modify it, it is possible. This is regarded universally as the Possible Selves Theory.
As a pioneer and a learner, you must have the capacity to assess and synthesize material to draw logical inferences. As students are recognized to enhance their reasoning competency, they advance via three separate cycles (pre-reflective judgment, quasi-reflective judgment, and reflective thinking) (Love & Guthrie, 1999).
Stages 1, 2, and 3 of pre-reflective, students believe that their information is factually accurate and particular. This set of students gain expertise through their elders or their own views and experiences. According to them, a definite solution may be found by employing the correct facts and data.
Students at the quasi-reflective levels (stages 4 and 5) can detect uncertainty components and regard specific scenarios as really demanding. They are unable to understand ill-structured issues and would declare that it is impossible to resolve such situations. Aside from that, they believe that expertise is utterly arbitrary to them. Even though they acknowledge that facts must be used as a foundation for judgment, they only use data in an unorthodox and unique way. It is difficult for students at this level to discern whether they are making statements or supporting viewpoints.
In contrast, students at the reflective judgment level (Stages 6 and 7) are skilled enough to articulate plausible ideas. Still, they are never sure if their thoughts on inadequate problems are correct or not. As much as these students recognize their inability to comprehend, they believe that integrating data and qualified opinions may lead to an intelligent conclusion. In addition, students at this level recognize their position as willing members in developing their awareness of humanity and the world around them. They understand that information must be interpreted within the context of its generation.
Enter; The Possible Selves theory. According to Markus and Nurius (1986), A person's various personalities are part of a broader idea of oneself. Mentally developed prospective variations of a person's beliefs, aspirations, dreams, objectives, and emotions are defined as possible selves (Markus and Nurius 1986). It is a representation of what a person aspires to be. Although the previous self might impact hypothetical future selves, Markus and Nurius (1986) point out that these selves can be viewed as future-oriented schemas of self. This theory also has academic applications.
Students who do not hold high regard for academics fall into the pre-reflective category. When a student is at this stage, they believe in what they can perceive and turn a blind eye to inquiry and the pursuit for solutions. In most cases, these students come from a background where esteemed mentors and role models in school are scarce. Because of this, they seek a job but do not want to go through the educational procedure to achieve it. Although such a student may have difficulty developing reflective judgment, they can do so with the proper support. It would be beneficial to guide them through the process of identifying his potential as a learner. Individuals can best uncover their potential selves by studying themselves and discovering facts other than what they can see and hear. The student is likely to come across contradictory facts in his investigation, which they can deny. Thereafter he is forced to look elsewhere for answers, which causes him to move from pre-reflective to quasi-critical mode.
To progress from quasi-reflective to reflective judgment, a student must be prompted to reason their views when presenting justifications. To urge students to explore new techniques to validate their views and overcome these dissonances at the quasi-reflective level, one must encourage them to pursue new strategies to justify and resolve their perceptions. Knowledge becomes situational as a student connects facts and arguments with perceptions (Love & Guthrie, 1999). Lastly, a student should be taught to analyze information and draw inferences that they can use in various situations since this encourages reflective thinking and critical thinking in the classroom.
To conclude, A student who disregards schooling must be helped to alter his mind by combining the reflective judgment model with the idea of potential selves. The pre-reflective degree of judgment applies to such a person. For example, one method to help the learner go to higher levels of reflective judgment would be to guide them in finding their possible selves. Through personal thought and investigation, a learner might uncover their possible self.
1) Understanding and applying cognitive development theory- Love & Guthrie
2) Possible selves and adult learning: Perspectives and potential- Rossiter
Therefore it is not surprising that technology has made remarkable strides in the field of healthcare too. ‘Digital therapeutics’ (DTx) can be described as innovative, software-based devices capable of preventing, managing, or treating a medical disorder or disease. The treatments may take the form of information or visual stimuli, for example, and are delivered via phone, computer, or other digital gadgets. Though initially met with skepticism, digital therapeutics are rapidly gaining pace as a convenient and reliable source of healthcare.
Mental healthcare too has immensely benefited from digital therapeutics, especially in situations where access to offline professional help is minimal or non-existent.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic has witnessed an increase in the use of digital therapeutics for the treatment of mental illnesses as one-to-one counseling sessions, school counseling sessions, appointments, physical training, etc. came to a halt overnight. The significant rise in mental distress and anxiety across the globe intensified the need for alternatives to traditional face-to-face counseling sessions. Thus several digital therapeutic tools have gained increased attention amid the pandemic. Some of those digital innovations has been explained below-
VIRTUAL REALITY THERAPY
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience similar to or completely different from the real world. A person using virtual reality equipment can look around the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items. Studies have indicated that VR is an effective treatment method for certain phobias, PTSD, ADHD, schizophrenia, helps people with psychotic disorders experience less paranoia and anxiety in public settings, and reduce social anxiety.
Exposure therapy is an effective treatment for anxiety disorders where patients are exposed to anxiety-inducing stimuli in a safe, controlled environment until triggers of the event no longer lead to anxiety. VR is considered to be a particularly successful method of exposure therapy. It is believed that the sensory and immersive nature of VR help PTSD patients get better faster than simply describing the trauma, and relapses are less frequent. VR enables the therapist to control the intensity of anxiety-provoking stimuli the patient is exposed to. Also, the whole setup can be personalized and themed as per the patient’s liking making it more comfortable and less intimidating for the patient. While research has established VR Therapy to be an efficacious mode of therapy, it is not yet widely used due to the high cost of VR Equipment and several other limiting factors.
Another example of Digital therapeutics is FDA approved prescription video game, EndeavorRX, developed by Akili Interactive Labs Inc. It is the first game-based therapeutic to be approved by the FDA for any condition and the first digital therapeutic approved for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
EndeavorRx is a prescription-only game designed to help improve attention in 8 to 12-year-olds with ADHD who have confirmed attention problems, and is often used in addition to therapy. Once a physician prescribes the game to a child with ADHD, the child should aim to complete five missions in the allotted time. After those five missions are complete, the game will not allow them to play any further missions until the following day.
EndeavorRX has been proven to improve children’s attention spans and uses algorithms that customize the game in real-time to adjust the difficulty level depending on who is playing to personalize the treatment.
It is also a fun, engaging, and child-friendly option and is usually enjoyed by children. Thus it improves treatment compliance which more than often is a significant issue among children.
This mode of treatment has been very well received as it is a viable alternative to traditional drug therapy which may have side effects.
Though it definitely has its drawbacks like video game addiction, the cons are minimal and will not affect the child as much as stimulants would. Pharmacological treatments for children have for long been controversial as these drugs often have side effects and children are frequently overprescribed.
Thus parents are usually more receptive to such alternative treatments and prefer them over drugs or stimulants. Presently these games are only available to children. Though their full potential hasn’t yet been fully explored, it is certainly a promising development.
Technological innovations such as these have indeed brought about a positive transformation in the field of mental health. These innovative treatment methods will enable patients to seek professional help despite geographical and other barriers without much hassle. While digital therapeutics have revolutionized mental healthcare, they continue to remain elusive in ordinary care scenarios as therapists are yet to adapt to these novel modes of treatment.
As digital therapeutics continue to gain prominence, the future certainly looks bright for mental healthcare.
Healthcare professionals are the first line of defence in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, circumstances force them to operate in inadequate work settings, which affects their mental health. Some instances of well-known workplace stress that could result in anxiety and depression are:
The outbreak has brought about psychological effects that debilitate healthcare workers. They are at a higher risk owing to poor working circumstances, which if not addressed could impact their mental health severely. It would lead several of them to abandon their professions.
"COVID-19 had an impact on us in such a way that I have faced challenges mentally, physically, and emotionally like never before. The feeling of impending doom by means of being at constant risk followed by a mandatory quarantine has made life very questionable. The question " Is this the life of a doctor that I have always dreamt of?" always has an insomniac effect! "-Dr. Aliya Amjad Hassan, Junior Resident [Ophthalmology], India
Putting burnout, tension, and worry on hold and overlooking stress-related signs are common. They are less likely to seek psychiatric assistance or help. In such situations, early implicit stress identification is critical. It allows prompt intervention methods to minimize intensification and total work burnout.
"There were times when the patient would be getting better and the condition deteriorates suddenly. Then as we started getting used to it there was an oxygen crisis and we had to preserve oxygen for more at-risk patients. We had to make difficult decisions like whom to save and whom to not. As a healthcare worker working during the pandemic in COVID ICU it not only affects our mental wellbeing but also our physical health." -Anjali Kottian, Respiratory therapist
The solution to this problem is a mobile phone application with automatic speech analysis by monitoring respondents' speech patterns during a brief telephone call. Detecting minor occurrences in the voice may provide a pathway into measuring the impact of stress. Faster breathing rate, increased muscular tension, and alterations in salivation rate are psychological effects on the body that impact voice output. It comes in handy, especially at urgent times when it is impossible to measure stress directly.
This automatic speech analysis will be conducted through telecommunication mode. Tele-sessions will be hosted by a professional psychologist/psychiatrist. With the consent of the participant, the call will be recorded for further clinical studies.
In such cases, teletherapy is convenient considering how they would be tired of going back to a clinic set up to meet with a counsellor or therapist. The option of seeking help from home is beneficial, keeping in mind the time constraints, pressure, and stress they face. This model also provides flexibility since healthcare workers can connect with therapists who live a thousand miles away.
How can we analyze and measure a person's stress level through the phone?
This innovation is clinically tested and approved. Here we use “The Motivation Stress Affect Questionnaire” strategy, which can be self-administered. It comprises 11 Yes/No questions that include:
The next phase is the evaluation of the answers to three standardized open-ended questions. It will help us capture natural speech within a limited duration. The participant will be asked to share their emotional neutrality followed by negative and positive events in their life. Each answer should last for one minute.
The comparison of speech featuring neutral and emotionally loaded questions will give insights into the affective state of the participants. The conversation then enters into a listening part aimed at exploring certain points in depth. Active listening will help them vent out their thoughts, and this will help in recording information for clinical needs and devising solutions.
The host will then proceed to offer follow-ups depending on the analysis and also give adequate advice on intervention strategies (eg: yoga, meditation, self-care activities, etc).
We think that this program can be further developed by increasing the number of sessions and encouraging people to consider this a proficient and worthy service. Connecting the application to helplines that offer free counselling for frontline workers would make it more effective. For instance, https://sangath.in/tele-counselling
An incentive like a cash voucher after a particular number of sessions will help motivate users even if they're exhausted after work. We can obtain these vouchers through crowdfunding or partnership with companies who are willing to offer them. Additionally, adding inspiring messages as notifications could help.
"Pandemic has affected my life emotionally and mentally in many ways as I had to witness deaths every day as I was in covid duty. Not being able to see my family in India and not receiving monthly leave has affected me badly as my kids are on another side of the world"-Biji Thomas, Staff Nurse, Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain
This initiative is a first step into the early identification of stress in an at-risk population. This can be extended to analyze and measure teens’ and women’s stress levels who are struggling with abusive relationships, domestic violence, and bullying.
Precaution and early identification are always better than late worries and helplessness.
Therefore, this innovation aims to ensure that the people who care for us to get convenient support.
Let’s fight the vulnerability by creating much better options to make sure that the warriors and real heroes who dare to step forward and save lives are mentally and emotionally well.
"It's not easy to accept each one of us if we get infected with the virus. As a health professional, it's difficult to convince and educate the patient about each step during the quarantine period. It is the time we should awaken and support each other to avoid the chance to get covid and teach them how to overcome the situation."-Aswathy V.R., Nursing Supervisor
Content Creator: Shekinah Glory Peter
Content Editor: Ratan Ravichandran
Designer: Elsa Aziz
I’m stressed, mentally drained
Approaching the end of my academic journey comes with much anxiety about the future
It’s strange how we are expected to have a path we wish to follow, despite having no guidance
We have not stopped being children - children in need of guidance
At home, it’s worse
The strain of caring for my sick mother
The part-time minimum wage job
I’ve always had to parent myself
I’ve always had to teach myself
Additionally, I belong to a marginalized group
I see the effects bigotry has on people like me
I’ve lived the sexual violence that is familiar to too many women
I’m still in the closet for I fear what comes with being out of it
I have no guidance
I have no help
School has taught me nothing
Isn’t the point of school to guide students and prepare them for the world?
Or is it just about getting As? ‘cause I’ve got that covered
The mental strain causes students to resort to harmful practices
They see the aggression, but not the pain
We need people to see us
We need you to guide us
We need help
We are children who need help.
This is the year 2021. In over a year, I have been schooling virtually, and being away from school during the summer of 2020, helped me realize that I used school as an escape. My past trauma resurfaced and my ignorance about the oppression that faces people of my class dispersed. With the revelation came anger, sadness, and frustration. I decided to lead group therapy sessions at my school, which is pretty open to creating safe spaces for students. It was a pleasurable experience. Schools cannot control the homes we come from, but they can control the place we are required to go to for at least 12 years of our lives. We should have therapists and safe spaces at school; it should be our refuge.
Content Creator: Agnas Ann
Content Editor: Ayisha Farah
Designer: Halima Asif
“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise, we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.”
A simple question to ourselves: do we try to take care of our physical well-being? What about our mental wellness?
Do we take care of it? Almost 70% of mental health disorders are addressed in children and can be intervened during the early stage, which is during their educational process.
In India, poor awareness about the symptoms of mental illness, stigma, and the lack of mental health services available has resulted in a massive treatment gap, with inadequate numbers of trained mental health care professionals resulting in a decline in the long term and short term treatment.
Even in China, the rate of mental health cases has increased in the past few years. Their desire for treatment has been hindered by their social norms and their religious and social beliefs, while the government is trying to expand its resources for improving the mental health of the citizens.
The WHO estimates that close to 20%, or one in five students, actively treat and deal with a mental health issue. the number of students whose mental health has been deteriorating in the past few coming years
Both physical and mental health should be adequately treated. However, mental health has been stereotyped and looked down upon in our society. If you take a break from school or work due to breaking bones is fine, but due to stress from your mental health, anxiety, or depression, it is usually said to them that ‘they are lazy’ or ‘it's all your thoughts, not serious’. but a question to us: Are they?
Untreated mental illnesses are becoming increasingly common across the globe.
Long term mental issues like imposter syndrome could have been prevented if they received support from society, mainly proper guidance from their educational institutions, educators, and their parents. These could have been prevented from a long life struggle if the foundation on mental wellness was laid properly, that is, addressing mental health in educational institutions.
Where do kids get the idea of using drugs, the idea of suicide, criticizing and judging mostly from school?
Fashion trends, styles, and new trends are the main topic among students. Not that everyone participates in this. Keeping up with the trends that are changing every day results in a lack of notice in their mental health, and ones who don’t participate are insulted and mocked around for their way of dress sense. Students not being able to cope with homework and assignments due to a lack of the idea to complete them or have a great idea to convey them.
Our world is competitive in all fields. Even the educational field is competitive, and students neglect their health for getting into college to secure life. The stress caused and on not getting or being able to complete leads to depression.
Educational institutions should not only make them book smart but also make them face real-life situations. For example, a student who scored fully in their academics won’t have the idea to face an interview board and fail placement interviews. Every recruiters, schools, and college need smart and unique ones. This itself is pressure. The most energetic period is the life we spent in educational institutions. A stage where the foundation of what is right or wrong, positive and negative support should be laid, a place where mental challenges are placed. The pandemic covid-19 has caused even more stress on students. they are not able not to understand the classes, are scared for their future, not able to meet their deadlines and how and when will their exams be conducted
Initiatives that can be taken in every educational institution:
“Everyone has its battle with mental health we all should respect and help them rather than criticizing them”
What about the educators?
We can see that teachers’ mental health has been deteriorating as their concern for their job security during the economic crisis in the pandemic. The constant worry of the family and the short period for completing the needs that should reach the deadline has added stress.
Teachers are trained to monitor signs such as trauma, anxiety, and all they know about the hidden threat to their mental health. We live in a place where competition has risen, all the parents want their kids to be on the top. They pressurize the educator as they consider it is the teacher’s capabilities that result in the kid’s score. Still, they forget that they are also an individual who has their battle with mental stress.
We often talk about the students’ mental wellness, and we forget about the teachers. Even they do feel stressed like us. During this pandemic, they teach students they have never seen or interacted with before, amidst the stress of meeting the work deadlines, they are awarded trolls and memes. They have never shown us their vulnerable side.
The institution should promote mental wellness for students and consider the mental health of the educators.
Some ways that educators can take care of their mental wellness:
Content Creator: Megna Rajagopal
Content Editor: Aswathy Dinesh
Designer: Halima Asif
“Not many people understand it or are aware of it. I think since ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (a Hindi film) was released, Indian's have started accepting it as a condition. Or else children are not able to explain what they see or what they experience. But even now, not many parents or adults acknowledge or even consider a child having dyslexia. There might be parents who think their child just isn't working hard enough,” says Anam Qureshi
Dyslexia is by far the most prevalent learning disability. It is most commonly linked to reading difficulties, but it may also impact writing, spelling, and speaking. It may be challenging to express oneself or completely comprehend what others are saying.
Anam wasn't born with dyslexia, she developed it during her on-going pregnancy. When asked how her day-to-day life is, she says, “I sit down intending to read a book and/or a website. But while reading, when I think I am concentrating, the words or sentences start mixing on top of each other or getting foggy. Then I need to change my position so I can reconcentrate.”
She says that she often has difficulty reading fluently. This may have an influence on how well she understands what she is reading. She deals with her learning disability by thinking she can listen to a podcast or audiobook. But she zones out and does not process anything. Even if she tries to repeat this, the same thing happens, and eventually, she gives up.
“Mostly try to keep your mind and thoughts free if you really want to read or concentrate on something. Even a minor distraction around or in your head might be the reason," says Anam.
“It is more common than you can imagine. You are not alone. And while you will have this the rest of your life, you can dart between the raindrops to get where you want to go and it will not hold you back.”~Steven Spielberg
It is essential to understand that, while dyslexia affects learning, it is not a problem with intelligence. Those with dyslexia are equally as intelligent as their peers.
Gnanaprasanna Sriram is a thirty two year old who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
Cerebral palsy is not a learning disability. However, it is possible some individuals with cerebral palsy have a learning disability. The cause of cerebral palsy could be a brain injury that occurs before, during, or immediately after birth, such as a lack of oxygen or sickness.
She had Coloboma iris, because of which she has had to wear glasses since she was nine months old. A coloboma is a defect in the eye's iris. It might appear as a black notch along the pupil's edge with variable depths, giving the pupil an uneven shape.
However, nothing stopped her from achieving her goals. She attended Vidya Sagar's special needs school and participated in the Abilympics competition conducted once every four years. She went for the International round for painting in the Czech Republic and bagged first and won a gold medal.
There was a lot of discouragement from people around her, but she now holds a double degree in BSc. Nutrition Dietetics and Bsc. Multimedia. She says that her parents are her pillars of strength. Her parents provided her with all the support she needed and traveled with her far and wide so that she wouldn't miss out on anything.
"If you can dream it, you can do it."~ Walt Disney
She always followed her dreams, and her story enlightens and uplifts everyone reading it.
The purpose of these interviews was to create awareness about learning disabilities. To help people who are going through the same problems relate and understand what they are going through. And most importantly, remember that you are not alone!
Content Creator: Manasi Patil
Content Editor: Safa Sajith
Designer: Halima Asif
You teach us maths,
And human science.
You teach us skills,
And working of minds.
You teach us languages,
And wonders of the universe.
You impact us,
You bloom us,
You cherish us,
You make us.
You fill us
With everything you have,
Up to the brim
And then some more.
You lend us
Every shred of light,
Brightening us up
Dispelling the darkness.
You enrich our minds
You make our worries weigh less.
You are there to talk
To unburden our load.
But, there’s always a catch.
With each cup you give us,
You have an empty one.
With each light you share,
Darkness engulfs you.
You willingly welcome our problems
Making your thoughts cluttered.
There’s always a key!
Take a break from the world
Close your eyes
And enjoy life
Feel the breeze
Listen to the music of nature’s hum.
Take a break from seeing the world,
Content Creator: Ananya Anindita
Content Editor: Ratan Ravichandran
Blog Designer: Nirvan Bajracharya
“Health is wealth”, do you remember writing it on your classroom boards as the quote of the day? You probably do. It is one of the most preached proverbs in schools. Now, health encompasses both physical and mental well-being. And teachers have been doing their best to ensure that we are healthy both physically and mentally. But what about them? Do they get to practice what they preach? Let’s see.
There is this incredibly famous adage from George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Maxims for Revolutionaries’, “He who can, does. He who can’t, teaches”. This statement is widely accepted. Teachers at primary and secondary schools, in particular, are viewed as people who lack imaginative thoughts, or have a drive to do something and thus have resorted to teaching. Teaching is frequently portrayed as an easy, carefree profession with flexible working hours and long holidays. However, is that actually true? Imagine a classroom filled with 20-30 kids. Each kid with a unique learning capability, mentality and IQ. and, you are the one responsible to bring out the best in each and every one of them. The mere thought of it is enough to stress me out! Furthermore, teachers are trained to look out for the socio-emotional well being of their students. They are trained to identify anxiety, bullying, depression, and other microaggressive symptoms. Yet, they are still hesitant to talk about or express their own mental health.
You cannot pour from an empty cup, so look after yourself first.
To begin with, we live in an extremely competitive society . Everyone wants their child to be at the top, win accolades and that is precisely how a teacher’s worth/capability is determined; by how much a child scores. This overwhelming pressure can be quite exhausting at times, especially for those who are new to this field. There occurs a constant mental battle as to how they can make learning easier and better for the kids. Even though they get off work earlier than others, they spend their time preparing question papers, marking answer sheets, and planning the lectures for the next day while keeping in mind their diverse class.
In addition, there is the conception that educators have to be strong since they are role models for children. There is also growing competition in the field to pose as good role models for students. As a result, they are expected to be optimistic, understanding and happy 24/7. Yes, they recognise that interacting with children is like walking on thin ice, but we must also remember that instructors are human beings. They too have their bad days. They have their vulnerable moments as well. Honestly, as a student I would really appreciate it if my teachers showed their vulnerable side to us. Such expressions can be a form of consolation for students. Telling them that it is okay to be weak at times, to be emotional and true to yourself.
Another pertinent point is, the disruptive student behaviour. As we grow older, we have all experienced at least one class where we could not bring ourselves to pay attention, the whole class was riotous and we never paid heed to what the teacher taught. It is not uncommon to encounter a lot of teenagers having a little or no respect for their teachers. These kids can make teaching extremely difficult for teachers and then go ahead to criticize them for not being able to do so adequately. This behaviour has worsened over the course of the pandemic.
The pandemic! The pandemic has not been easy on anyone. Work from home has added stress to daily life. Students have been complaining about their mental health being affected (quite rightly so). Meanwhile, educational institutions have delegated all obligations to instructors for some reason. Many teachers have had to learn how to conduct classes using Zoom, Google Meet, and other similar programmes. However, there are instances of students misusing this shortcoming of teachers. For example, giving meeting access to outsiders to come and disturb the class. In addition a number of difficulties they face can be:economic
1. Teaching a class through a screen, where they have no clue whether the students are listening understanding or grasping the concept,
2. Trying to make lectures interesting while handling the deadlines,
3. Attending to confused students and parents even after online school hours
Teachers are still concerned about their job security as a result of the economic downturn; they are constantly concerned about their and their families’ health along with the health of their students and, to add to all those we got memes. A study conducted in the US found out that during the pandemic, teachers were more likely to report feeling stressed and burned out than other state and local government-sector employees. A national poll in the US states that 1 in 3 teachers have decided to retire rather than return to the classroom. And what are we doing about that? Nothing.
Lastly, but most importantly, the lack of teacher counselling concept in schools is alarming. A school counsellor is found in almost every accredited institution. But, the concept of them counselling teachers is completely unheard of. The above-listed arguments have definitely provided us with more and more reasons as to why counselling should be provided to teachers as well. Creating support groups within the schools for teachers is a much needed step. Recognition of the fact that some cultural groups might be in need of extra support, like the lgbtq group or the black community, is very necessary.
In conclusion, everyone acknowledges and admits teachers to be an extremely integral and impertinent part of the society. However, we have failed them when it comes to their mental health. A study conducted in England and Wales shows a positive association of teacher’s mental wellbeing to that of the students. Therefore, let us do our best to provide them with support, help and most importantly; respect. In the words of Todd Whitaker;
“The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters everyday.”