Reading Time: 32 minutes

Here is a transcript of the entire conversation around immunity with our guest expert. Do read or click to listen, to get some invaluable advice and tips on how to build your immunity, naturally. 

This week, Conversation with OZiva is excited to welcome clinical psychologist Sonakshi Gandhi who shares insights on Mental Health.

Our host for this episode is Nishi Joshi. She is a licenced Queer affirmative Psychotherapist with her expertise in Body-based/Movement Psychotherapy.

To watch the video

Questions asked during the conversation:
1. How do I recognise that one is suffering from a mental health issue?

2. When is the right time to address my mental health concern?

3. How harmful is stress to mental health and how can I manage it?

4. What can I do to help increase awareness about mental health?

5. What are the most common mental health disorders?

6. How can I become a support system to a suffering friend/family member?

7. Who should I consult for any mental health concerns?

8. How would my first-time meet with a mental health professional go?

9. What role does nutrition and diet play in improving my mental health?

10. Can you share one daily habit that could help me boost my mental health?

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Full Transcript 

PodcastEP 3 transcript

Host: Hello my health hustlers, welcome back to Conversations with OZiva: your go-to podcast for all things health and nutrition.

Today, we are going to talk about something so important to all of us and a necessity in today’s times – taking care of our mental health.

Aaj kal apni health – mental and physical – ka dhyaan rakhna bahut zaroori ho gaya hai.

So it gives me immense pleasure to welcome Sonakshi Gandhi, to our podcast today, to tell us a little bit more about our mental health and how to better take care of it. 

Sonakshi holds an M.Phil in Clinical Psychology and is the founder of Mind Garden, a mental health clinic providing services to families, couples and individuals.

  Let’s put our hands together and welcome Sonakshi with open arms.

Hi Sonakshi, thank you so much for joining us today on ‘Conversations with OZiva’. It’s our pleasure to welcome you to our podcast, especially to talk about something, which is so important and necessary in today’s age – our mental health. So, firstly thank you so much for being here and maybe we’ll start with the initial thoughts before I drill you with all the questions that I’ve prepared for you. 

Sonakshi: Thank you so much Chhaya and thank you to the team for having me here. It’s a real pleasure as always to come and talk about mental health. Yeh itna zaruri hai hamare liye baat karna but hum iss ke baare mein kaafi baat nahi karte hain. So I’m really glad to be here. Thank you.

Chhaya: The pleasure is all mine. You’re right. There are so many things that we are all dealing with today. Itni cheezo ko hum paper mein padhte hai ya hum personal level pe deal karte hain, toh both zaruri ho jata hai hum apni mental health ke baare mein baat karein. 

Toh hum shuru se shuru karete hain, I think, pehla sawaal sab ke dimaag mein aata hai and it’s something, which I also think about quite often, that how does one recognise that they’re dealing with a mental health illness as suppose to say you know, ke mai thoda sad feel kar rahi hun ya fir mujhe thoda bas mental fatigue ho raha hai! How do we know that it is something more serious and what can we do about it and how can we identify those early signs?

Sonakshi: I think that’s an extremely relevant question, kyunki agar hume pata hi nahin hoga ki kaise identify karna hai, toh hum aage ke koi bhi steps nahi le payenge. So I think sab se pehle toh yeh jaan na zaruri hai, ki hum jab mental health ki baat karte hain toh pehle toh health kya hota hai, fir mental health kya hota hai, then we’ll come to the signs of it. 

So health, according to the World Health Organization is a complete state of physical, mental and emotional well-being. Toh hum jab health ki baat karte hain toh hum sirf physical health ko nahi  component mein lete, mental and emotional health bhi utni hi zaruri hoti hai if not more. 

Jab hum mental health ki baat karte hain, it’s a state of wellbeing in which an individual recognises his or her abilities. Mere andar kya abilities hai, mai usko recognise karta hun ya karti hun. Apne life ke stressors – jo mujhe cheezein challenging lagti hain, kya mai unke saath aache se deal kar paa rahi hun, cope kar paa rahi hun aur kya main lasting contribution kar pa rahi hun ya kar paa raha hun apni society mein, apne aap ke saath, apni family mein, apne relationships mein, apne kaam mein?

If yes, then that is good mental health, toh abb hum, jab mental health ka matlab samajh gaye hain, abb hum aate hain aapke question pe – ke agar hum yeh pata karna chahte hain ki mental health theek nahi hai toh kaise pata karna hai?

Pehli baat toh yeh hume pata hona chahiye ki effect kis kis cheez pe padh raha hai, so that we know ki okay woh theek nahi hai. Apke thoughts affect hote hain, apke emotions affect hoti hain, aur aapka behavior affect hota hai. 

Good mental health or poor mental health can affect your choices, your relationships, your decisions, your sense of self and even your physical health. Yeh sab cheezein impact hongi. Abb hum aate hain ki kya hote hain kuch signs? 

Pehle toh aap ko yeh bhi samajhna mere khayal se zaruri hai, ki har sign sab ke liye nahi hota, individual differences hote hain. Issi liye hum kehte hain ki self diagnosis nahi karna chahiye, kyunki mera depression ya meri mental health problem apke mental health problem se alag lag sakti hai – very important to remember. And kya, dekho hum sab ko kabhi na kabhi koi na koi inn mein se signs honge, right, but hum kab samajhte hain ki abb warning signs ho gaye hain, red flag hogeya hai? Jab, humari normal functioning ko disturb karta hai- toh main theek se kaam nahi kar paa rahi hun, relationship mein problem dekh rahi hun ya mai apna routine nahi follow kar paa rahi hun, tabb shayab problem hai. Mereko distressing lagta hai, debilitating lagta hai aur endearing lagta hai.

Yeh three criteria hoti hain rule of thumb, hume yeh pata karne ke liye ke koi problem hai.

Host: Why don’t you repeat those once, you know so that they get imprinted in our thinking?

Sonakshi: So, is it distressing to me, is it debilitating to me or is it impairing my functioning? These are three ways in which we can know that a normal problem, a feeling is turning into a mental health problem. Ab hum aate hain finally aapke question pe. Signs kya hote hai?

See, sab se bada sign yeh hota hai ki main jis tarah se apne life ke saath, apni problems ke saath pehle cope kar paati thi, main aaj nahi cope kar paa rahi hun. Kuch theek nahi hai and I’m not able to cope with my problems, in the same manner. 

Apart from that, kuch normal tell tale signs hote hain, ek sign hota hai bohut bada, which is mood swings, aur when I say mood swings I don’t mean, sirf sadness, sadness bhi ek bahut bada mood swing hota hai par usske elava bhi, anger; bahut zada gussa aana; harr waqt irritated rehna, mood swings hona; kabhi khushi kabhi dukhi, when your mood keeps changing without a trigger around you. 

Uske elava, aapka jo routine hai, jo lifestyle hai unke parameters change hote hain, mental health ki problem sleep ko bahut jaldi effect karti hai. Infact, lack of sleep is related to numerous mental illnesses as well. Toh apko hypersomnia bhi ho sakta hai, yaani ki zada soh rahe ho aap normal se, aur aapko insomnia bhi so sakta hai yaani ki aap nahi soh rahe ho jitna sote the. 

Similarly appetite both zyaada ho gayi hai ya bahut kamm ho gayi hai. Generally a wish to do something, motivation jisko hum kehte hain, drive, intention – aap ka routine – sab change ho jana, fluctuate karna, uss ke elava anxiety hona, bahut zyada stress, worry, nervousness, anxious feel karte rehna and other unexplained fears. 

Darr lag raha hai but pata nahi kiss cheez se darr lag raha hai. Woh bhi ek bahut bada sign hai. Relationships mei dikkat hai, social withdrawal hai, dusro se baat karne ka mann naa karna. Focus, concentration, mei problem aa jaana bhi serious sign hota hai. But yeh bhi mental health ka hi sign hai, which is a wish to end things, apne aap ko maarne ki sochna, suicidal thoughts, which is also a big sign.  

Agar aap already substances use karte ho toh substances use zyaada ho jana. More drinking, more smoking, more use of substances. So these are just some of them but bahut saare signs hote hain aur yeh, sab kuch na kuch signal karte hain. It is very important to seek the right kind of advice to know what these signs mean. 

Host: So, Sonakshi toh yahan pe mera ek follow up question yeh aata hai, ki of course, ho sakta hai ke yeh signs, you know, maybe out of the ordinary once in a month, one particular day is stressful in the office, toh ho sakta hai main ek se se zyaada drink pi li, hypothetically, ya fir, mai kisi personal grievance se deal kar rahi hun aur kuch time ke liye meri appetite ya fir sleep affect ho jaati hai, but then of course, once that stress is over I’m out of it or you know, I bounce back to my normal routine or normal appetite. Toh isska koi period bhi toh hota hog ana for example if I’m not being able to sleep for say weeks, or even more than days toh isska period kaise hota hai before I know ki okay, it has gone beyond the acceptable limit, and you know, now I need to do something about it. 

Sonakshi: Bahut sahi kaha aapne ki aisa nahi hai ki ek din kuch distrupt ho gaya toh main samajh lun ki problem hai. Har illness ka alag hota hai. For example, depression ka criteria hota hai do hafte, whereas kuch anxiety disorders ka criteria hota hai ek mahina. So it depends. 

Hum log ek manual use karte hain, jisko hum kehte hai, ICD10 (International Classification of Diseases, 10th version) yeh WHO ki di hui manual hai, iss saara criteria mentioned hota hai. And only a person who is trained and qualified, can understand and explain your symptoms to you in a better form. But main yeh kahungi Chhaya ki agar aapko already feel ho raha hai, if you are already feeling that I’m not doing okay, you are the first person who realises that you are not doing okay. Family members ko baad mein pata chalega kyunki yeh observable illnesses nahi hai. It’s not ki aapko kahin chot lagi hai jo dikh jaaye. This is something you internally will realise. So if you’re feeling it, just take my advice and feel like it’s there. Believe yourself to know enough that woh hai and then take action accordingly.   

Host: But Sonakshi, of course hum stress ki baat kar rahe the and I do belong to a generation where you know, stress is sort of part of our lives. Shuru mein thoda sa exciting lagta hai ki you know we are running against the clock, we’re working on weekends, we are constantly on our phones. But then you realise it catches up with you. It tells you how much a break is important but I think sirf agar hum work stress ki baat na bhi kare, there are so many things that you know our generation is dealing with. Global warming, I live in delhi so pollution – uss ko dekhke claustrophobic feel hota hai ya fir ghutan si mehsus hoti hai. There are so many other things you know that we deal with, which can add a lot of stress to us but I wanted to know ke iss ka real term impact kya hota hai mental health pe. 

Pehla sawal yeh ki how does stress impact our mental health and if suppose, a young person or any person for that matter is stressed and for a long time, what could be the short term and the long term changes or solutions that one can eventually imbibe or you know initiate in their lives? 

Sonakshi: yeh bhi kaafi, mere hisaab se bahut hi relevant question hai kyunki har generation ka har insaan ka stress mein rehna normal hai. kyunki hum sab hi kisi na kisi stressor ke saath deal kar rahe hote hain. First of all it’s a normal thing that everyone in our world is stressed about something or another. You’ll rarely find anybody who says ki mujhe stress nahi hai. Aapki life mein stress ke periods ho sakte hain. So hum sab log apne apne level par stress ke saath deal karte hain hamari problems alag hoti hain. Toh I think woh sab se pehla important point hai. 

Coming to your question, toh pehle hume yeh samajhna zaruri hai ki stress hota kya hai hum jo yeh ek word use kare hain itna, what does it mean? In more technical terms. So stress is the body’s response to pressurising, external circumstances. Iss ko hum trigger bhi bol sakte hain, iss ko hum stressor bhi bol sakte hain. 

Stressor thoda technical word hota hai but jab hamari body react karti hai physicologically yaani ki physically respond karti hai kisi trigger ko toh ussko hum stress kehte hai. Ab stress jo hota hai woh alag alag type ka hota hai. Ek hi type ka stress nahi hota. Ek toh hota hai normal stress yaani ki mere ko exam dene jana hai exam se pehle mujhe stress ho raha hai. Interview dene jaana hai, usske pehle stress ho raha hai. Public speaking karni hai uske pehle ho raha hai. Mostly 90%  of the people will feel stressed in such situations. In ko hum kehte hain acute stressors. Ek dum se aate hain aur circumstance ke hisaab se aate hain aur jaise hi circumstance khatam hota hai, they disappear. So once I’ve given my interview I’m feeling okay. My symptoms are only limited to till I was giving my interview. 

Fir stress hota hai jo ki zyaada problematic hota hai, which is called chronic stress. Now this stress may or may not be high in intensity. Intensity zyada nahi hogi but uska duration bahut lamba hoga. Chronic stress aur yeh type ka stress jo hai, this is the one which is majorly going to impact our mental and physical health. Ab kya impact karta hai yeh stress aur kyun karta hai. Jo biology hai iski that says ke jab aap chronically body ko stress mei rakhte ho, ek stressful state mein hoti hai body, then jo hormones release hote hain, there are few chemicals and hormones that get released in our body when we are in a stressful state of mind. Thode time ke liye toh woh protective function hota hai. Humme help bhi karta hai. Chronic ho jaaye, toh body ki immunity kamm isi liye ho jaati hai because the body is using up all resources to deal with the stressor. Us mein apne saare resources laga dete hain aur baaki illnesses ko deal karne ke liye koi resources nahi bach te. As a result the impact can be on your physical health, lowered immunity, higher chances of blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, even cancer for that matter. Cancer has been linked to high stress levels. 

Yeh sab ho gaya aapki physical health par impact, mental health par impact hota hai jab stress chronic ho toh anxiety bane ka chance hota hai it can become an anxiety disorder. It can become a depressive disorder. Agar apki family mein genetic vulenrablity hai, addictions ki, toh aapko addiction honi ki bhi shyaamta rehti hai, potential rehti hai. 

Coming to what you asked, ki hum isko deal kaise kar sakte hain agar stress ha toh uska short-term and long-term management plan kya rahega. Pehle toh yeh samajhna zaroori hai mere khayal se, ki aapko stress ka source identify karna bahut important hai. Ki yeh aa kahan se raha hai, where is the stress eminating from? Kya woh situation aisi hai jisko mein control kar sakti hun, jo bas mein hai? Or is it something that is completely out of my control? That’s not in my control at all? Woh samajhna mere hisaab se zaroori hai.

Secondly, kuch lifestyle changes I think bahut important hai stress management ke liye aur yeh hum – mein specially apne clients ko har baar batati hun that you need to manage your stress through your lifestyle. This means regulated good quality sleep, good nutritious appetite and I think the third one which is very important is exercise & relaxation. 

Most of us think of exercise as really hard cardio for 45 minutes. Matlab woh bhi exercise ka form hai, woh bhi bahut important hai but it’s also equally important to give your mind and body some relaxation. So through yoga, through meditation, through breathing exercises, woh karna bhi humare liye bahut zaroori hota hai. Apart from that, mujhe lagta hai ek support network banana: family ka, friends ka, keep people around you who you can talk to. Woh mere khayal se bahut zaroori hoga. And I think ultimately, being kind to yourself. Aapko apne aap se pehle toh self-compassion dikhana bahut zaroori hai. If you are only going to be unkind to yourself; stress is not going to go anywhere. Woh toh issi pe feed kar raha that you’re going to be hard on yourself. So be kind to yourself, that would be my ultimate advice. 

Host: I also wanted to ask ki matlab hum iski awareness badhane ke liye kya kar sakte hain? On an individual level, I guess. 

Sonakshi: Yeh aapne badha relevant question pucha hai. Aur mujhe yeh question ka answer dete hue acchaa bhi lag raha, kyunki better bhi ho raha hai par yeh bhi dikhta hai ki abhi kitni dur jaana hai. That is also quite apparent. 

So to answer your question I think, pehle toh hum yeh samajhte hai ki world mein kya ho raha hai, aur fir hum India tak aate hain. The world it is said, again by, it’s a statistic by the WHO, ki one in four people as you and I are speaking, is going through a mental health issue at this point. Ab woh diagnosed hai ya undiagnosed hai wahan tak nahi pahunche hai par yeh statistics hai. Yaani ki 25% of our world is going through a mental health problem. 

Ab aate hain hum India pe. In India, first of all, it’s important to let you know ki hum world mein top rahe hain for the number of youth suicides. We are the top most country in the world. 7.5% of our population of 1.3 billion people has a diagnosable mental health condition. That is huge as a number. If you think about it, it will translate into crores. It is that bad. 

Aur agar log yeh samajhte hain ki mental health ki problem sirf mental health tak rehti hai toh ek aur statistic mein aap ko batati hun. In the world it is estimated that from 2012 to 2030, there will be an economic loss of about 1.3 trillion dollars because of mental health problems. Itna economic loss hoyega. So mental health problems do not stick to mental health, they pervade boundaries and go to physical health, they go to economics, they go to sociology, har jagah hi pervade hota hai. 

Host: Aur yeh numbers itne crucial hai kyunki, kitne log hai jo abhi bhi mental health ko completely diss kar dete hai ya fir bolte hai yeh toh khaali dimaag shaitan ka ghar hota hai but these are real-term impacts. 

Sonakshi: Absolutely. And I’ll share one last statistics with you which if this shocked you, you’ll realise where we are, how deplorable our state is. In India, jitna maine aapko bataya hai seven and a half % of people, aap yeh samjho ki aapke hisaab se let me ask you this question, how many practising psychologists and psychiatrists do you think there are agar hum itne logon ki baat kar rahe hai, toh uske hisaab se kitne hone chahiye? Aapke hisaab se? 

Host: I think there should be at least 1 per 10 patients maybe? One practitioner against 10 maybe I don’t know if that’s a fair statistic?

Sonakshi: Ok. Let me share the reality. We are looking at a total of 900 registered clinical psychologists in the country and about 4000 psychiatrists. Toh hum total, aap sab kuch mila lo toh bhi 10,000 se upar humare paas log nahi hai. Qualified and trained mental health professionals nahi hai to take care of this kind of disease burden. Humaara treatment gap is level ka hai. 

So that’s where we stand today. 

Host: That’s very alarming. Matlab, I’m quite speechless ki maine kya assume kia tha and the actual statistics is so alarming. But, I’m really glad we’re having this conversation, kyunki jitne bhi log is podcast ko dekhenge, sunenge at least hopefully un logon tak hum kuch valuable information pahuncha paayenge. But what can I do or what can we do at an individual level to increase this awareness? About mental health. 

Sonakshi: See I think sabse pehle toh jo aap kar rahe ho that is commendable because this is going to reach people and you never know kisko yeh sunne ki zaroorat hai. You never know who is listening to it and who wants to listen to it. Toh mere khayal se using social media and media, traditional media responsibly. Mental illness ko hume romanticise nahi karna hai, glorify nahi karna hai, aur villainise bhi nahi karna hai. Jo reality hai, fact-oriented reality hi dikhani hai. 

Toh awareness humari taraf se – as a common person in the world – is using whatever platform you have to speak about it. If you are going through something you can honour mental health by sharing your journey. Aap khud therapy mein jao, aap khud psychiatrist ke paas jao, fir aap dusron ko bolo. So you need to understand when you are not doing well and you need to help and encourage other people to also understand and spread awareness through various platforms that you can have. Yeh mere khayaal se, sab log agar thoda thoda karein then that can have a huge impact. 

Host: You know its again so interesting kyunki jab aapne bola ki hum apna experience share karein, toh shayad kisi aur ko usse sahayta mile, ya kisi aur ko us se you know, ek relatability mile. I was just thinking, for example, ki agar tomorrow hypothetically I deal with viral aur humein koi phone karke kehta ki humme same symptoms ho rahe hain, toh humaare liye nuske jo kaam karein, chahe woh kadha ho ya koi particular medicine ho, hum hamesha woh recommend karte hain. Bolte hai ki tum subah kadha peena ya shyam ko steam lena and you will feel better. Toh why don’t we translate that to our mental health as well? 

Why am I not prescribing ki haan mere liye therapy bahut effective thi toh I would say you should also try it out. But I think maybe I completely agree ki awareness badhana humaara individual role utna hi hai, jitna hum government pe ya fir hum practitioners pe, ya fir hum doctors pe isko daalenge.

Main aapse yeh puchna chahungi ki sabse zyaada common mental health disorders kaunse hain jinke baare mein shayad hum jaante hain ya fir shayad hum utna nahi jaante jitna humme jaan na chahiye. But of course,  being a professional, aise kaunse disorders hain jo aap prevalently dekhte hain especially maybe in our generation or just around you generally as well. 

And of course if you could explain a little bit about what all they are so that a layperson could understand what they stand for. 

Sonakshi: Sure Sure. so  pehle toh mein disclaimer dena chahungi ki iss information ko aap educationally lein, as an awareness lein, aur isko self-diagnosis ki tarah naa lein. Kyunki jaisa maine pehle bhi bataya tha, individual differences hote hain. Inn disorders mein itne nuances hote hain ki yeh aapki history ke saath, aap jaise insaan ho uske saath intermixed hote hain.  You need a person who is qualified to make you understand this. 

So coming to the question that you asked, yeh jo disorders hote hain isko hum technical terms mein Common Mental Health Disorders kehte hain. CMD’s naam diya geya hai inko. Kyunki yeh itne common hai aur yeh sabse zyaada practise mein bhi dekhe jaate hain. Ab in mein do main components hain, do main spectrums of disorder hain. Ek ko hum kehte hain mood disorders aur ek ko hum kehte hain anxiety disorders. Mood disorders ke andar jo sabse relevant hai, jo sabse zyaada mujhe lagta hai debilitating bhi ho sakta hai woh hai depression. Depression hum loosely toh bahut use karte hain par iska jo actual meaning hai, is of a person who for at least two weeks has been having sadness of mood ya irritability of mood jo ki persistent and pervasive hai. Aap kuch bhi karlo koi bhi circumstance change karlo – bahaar le jao, try karlo kuch bhi woh mood change nahi hota. 

Uske alawa loss of pleasure: jiss cheezz mein mujhe pehle interest aata tha ab mujhe usmein interest nahi aata hai. Lack of motivation, lack of concentration, sleep changes, appetite changes, feelings of guilt, sometimes severity mein feelings of self-harm. Toh yeh hai kuch depression ke indicators. 

Uske alawa anxiety disorders ki hum jahaan baat karte hain wahan par aate hain teen ya chaar main disorders. Yahaan par hum sabse pehle baat karenge Generalised Anxiety Disorder ki jo ki kam intensity waale hote hain par chronicity bahut lambi hoti hai. Toh aisi worried, muje har cheez ki tension hoti hai, main aisi hi insaan hun, that is Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). 

Second is, panic attacks. Toh jiss tarah maine aapko bataya generalised anxiety mein intensity kam hoti hai, panic attacks mein intensity bahut zyaada hoti hai. Toh aapko saare symptoms hoyenge anxiety ke – yaani ki palpitations, increased heart beat, shortness of breath, aisa lagna ki the worst is going to happen, trembling hands, dizziness, nausea, fainting wali feeling, yeh saari cheezein milkar ek hi baar hoyengi aur intensity hogi 9 on 10. Usko bolte hain panic attack. Toh woh kahin bhi aa sakta hai kabhi bhi aa sakta hai. 

Panic attack ho gaya, depression ho gaya and GAD bhi ho gaya. Fourth waala hai jisko hum kehta hain PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Ab aisa nahi hota ki mera breakup ho gaya maanlo toh mujhe PTSD ho gaya aisa nahi hota. Aisa nahi hota. It is only an individual’s response – jisne traumatic event, universally traumatic event dekha ho. Yaani ki interpersonal abuse, violence, accidents, injuries ya army mein jo log rehte hain and the kind of pictures that they see, the kind of scenes they have to witness uske baar baar flashbacks aana, re-experience karna, nightmares aana usko hum PTSD kehte hain. 

Ek aur bahut common anxiety disorder hai Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). yeh bhi unfortunately hum bahut loosely use karte hain. Thoda koi zyaada saaf karta hai ya sab cheezein line mein rakhta hai toh bas OCD hai usko. But OCD again technically, is a very debilitating illness in which aapko obsessions aate hain recurrent, intrusive and repetitive thoughts, jo ki aapko bahut anxiety dete hain kyunki woh aapke nature ke against hote hain. Aapke bin bole, bin bataye, bina maange aate hain. Aur fir usko hatane ke liye aapko kuch compulsions karne padhte hain, odd behaviours karne padhte hain jisse ki anxiety kam ho aur woh obsession chala jaaye. Isko hum OCD kehte hain. 

Toh yeh mere hisaab se sabse common hain. Do aur bhi hain jisko hum kehte hain phobia or social anxiety. Phobia heights se ho sakta hai, paani se ho sakta ha, kisi animal se ho sakta hai; jaise kuch logon ko dog ka phobia hota hai. Woh bilkkul nahi dekh sakte. So usko hum kehte hain specific phobia. Aur social anxiety yaani ki social situations mein baat karna, participate karna, darr lagta hai as a reason of humiliation, embarrassment or rejection. In cheezon se dar lagna and that’s why you are not able to talk to anyone. So yeh mere hisab se common mental health disorders hote hain. 

Host: No, I wanted to thank you ki aapne inko itne saar roop se samjhaya, kyunki you’re right, matlab kitni baar humne suna hai ki log kahenge ki aree isko toh OCD hai ya phir aree isko toh depression hogaya hai, 2-3 din se baat nhi kar rha hamse. We don’t realise the implications of these, you know to use them so casually, specially when somebody might be going through them on a more serious note as well. But, I think iss mein hamare support system ka role bahut aata hai. You know, what kind of people we surround ourselves with? What kind of energy do they give us? You know, do we feel comfortable to share with them or talk to them? And even I think voh ghar par bhi aata hai, kya main apne mummy papa se baat kar sakti hun, agar you know  mujhe kisi cheez ki anxiety ho rahi hai, ya mujhe kisi cheez ka bhay repetitively create hue jaa raha hai, Can I talk to them, can i confide in them? Toh i think this is what I would like to ask next ki kisike support system ka kitna important role hai to help somebody who might be a victim or a survivor. 

And second, if suppose tomorrow somebody comes to me and confides in me, you know they share something very personal and very painful to them with me. How should I as a responsible listener and a responsible support system react to that and help them out. 

Sonakshi: I think yeh bahut important sawaal hai Chhaya, because kya hota hai naa, jab ham kissi cheez ke saath go through kar rahe hote hai, when we are going through something emotionally, itna stigma hai hamari society mein, itna shame associated hai with seeking help for mental health ki hum kabhi kabhi apne aap se bhi admit nhi karna chahte, ki we are going through something. So the first people who will see absolutely any signs of something wrong, are people you are living with. Aapki immediate family hai, aapke caregivers hai, spouse hai, girlfriend boyfriend hai, jiske saath bhi aap zyada time spend kar rahe ho – friends hai, jo bhi hai, those people will be able to catch on, ke this person was someone else, ki voh kuch alag behave kar raha hai, kuch alag feel kar raha hai, kuch different hai. That’s very important to remember ki as a responsible caregiver or person who’s witnessing it, aapka farz banta hai ki aap isko notice bhi karo, aur ekdum se, i would say, jab aapne poocha ki ham kya kar sakte hai, toh aap usko ekdum se bahar bhi mat laao. Do not immediately point at the person and say ki aap normal nahi ho, aap pehle aise nahi the, aap ab aise ho gaye ho, because you will have to understand ki It takes a lot of courage to come out and say that I’m not doing okay.

Agar mujhe headache ya stomach-ache hai, toh mai aapse ek minute mein aake keh dungi ki mujhe stomache ho raha hai, mujhe medicine chahiye, but agar if I am going through something emotionally or mujhe hi samajh mein nahi aa raha hai ki mujhe kya ho raha hai toh mai aapko kaise bataungi.

So as a supportive family member or as a friend. I would suggest ki sabse pehle to aap dusre insaan ke struggle ko trivialise mat karo. Do not trivialise, or make fun of, or reduce it to nothing. Kayi baar hum sunte hai, clients muje aake batate hain, ki humme kaha gaya hai ki koi farak nahi padta, badi baat nahi hoti hai, learn to deal with it, aap meditation karlo sab theek ho jaayega, aap padhai pe focus nahi karte toh yeh problem ho rahi hai. So, don’t trivialise. 

Don’t also offer solutions, ekdum se hum rescue mode mein aajate hai, hum solutions dene lagte hai – aise karo, vaise karo. What they need, at that point, is a listening ear. They need you to listen to what they are going through without judgement. Judgement nahi deni hai, sirf sunna hai, empathetically sunna hai kyunki joh unke saath ho raha hai voh kal ko aapke saath bhi ho sakta hai. 

Thirdly, mujhe lagta hai doosre insaan ki journey ko, unki problems ko validate karna bahut zaroori hai, kyunki bahut baar joh log, the people who are going through mental heath issues, they feel ki kuch nahi hai, voh khud ko hi invalidate kardete hai, ki nahi, mai kal uthunga toh main thik feel karunga, aise koi baat nhi hai. Toh jab family members bhi aapko yeh kehte hai, toh zyaada lagta hai, you feel it even more. So try and validate. 

Host: As you rightfully said, suppose a child is going through something and you know they raised it to the parents, ki you know, this is what I’m going through aur mujhe theek nahi lag raha hai and the parents replies you know, ki padhai mein dhyaan dele, bakwaas karta rahega, all those things so yeh internalise ho jata hai, phir mujhe agli baar ek hichak feel hogi, kisi se bhi baat karne mein. 

Main sochungi ki shayad meri hi galti hai, you know khud ka ek guilt create hojayega. So it is so important, ki matlab aap jo kehte ho ki aap apne ko samjho, but eventually hum ek society mein rehte hai, we are not an individual on an island. So it is very important to be able to offer that help to other people as well so that you know, that God forbid you go through something like that, you have that help and responsible help as well.

Sonakshi: Aur mai ismein ek hi aur point add karungi ki agar aapko lage ki yeh uss insaan ke bhi beyond hai aur aapke bhi beyond hai, as a family member aap help nahi kar pa rahe hai, there is no harm. There is no shame, there is no stigma in seeking help – professional help for the problem. Kyon ki itna stigma hota hai ki voh person khud naa kar sake, to aap unki help kar sakte ho. By finding someone word of mouth se, ya aapne kisi ka suna ho ya aapko koi pata hai joh accha hai. You can find someone, you can take an appointment for them. You can offer to pay for them. And you can go with them. Yeh kuch cheezein hai jisse aap unko validate kar sakte, ho aap unko support kar sakte ho and you are there for them. 

Mujhe yeh lagta yeh bahut bahut zada zaroori hai kyunki kya hota hai ki kayi baar log yahan par aake ruk jaate hai, yeh help nahi mil paati unko. Mountain ko 90% chad gaye hain but 10% nahi ho raha, voh help bahut zaroori hoti hai. 

Host: Sonakshi very rightfully said that, you know, just like any other illness or just like any other ailment that our body might go through, mental health ke liye bhi ek process hota hai. Just like how you would diagnose something, and then you would, you know, either go to a doctor or agar aapko zukham type hai, toh you’ll know ke iske liye ye medicines leni hai and you’ll plan out your next few days of schedule accordingly. 

Chaliye maan lijiye ke I have recognised that something is.. something is not right, I haven’t been feeling myself for a few days or weeks now. I have tried talking to my friends, it has given me some comfort, but hasn’t given me a solution. And of course I’m looking for a solution to my problem kyuki one, I can’t recognise what’s happening to me and second, mai of course, professional nahi hoon. Mai apne aap ko injection ya mai decide nahi kar sakti ki mujhe kya lena chahiye. At what point of time, should somebody approach a professional and how should one go about therapy? I think you’ll be the best person to answer this question.

Sonakshi: I think sabse pehle toh ye recognise kar lete hai, ki kab pata chalega ki hume jana hai? Toh jaisa maine pehle kaha tha that, you know impairment and distress and debilitation. Ye teen cheeze mujhe feel ho rahi hai, bahut time bhi ho gaya hai. I’ve been feeling it for such a long time. Log bhi mujhe keh rahe hai, my loved ones are also telling me that ‘you’re not doing okay’, mere grades kam ho gaye hai, meri job performance me problem aa rahi hai, mere relationships ki quality kam ho rahi hai… these are some of the tell-tale signs that I need to see here. Once I’ve established ke I want to seek help, fir kayi sources hote hai.

Aap apni family se, apne friends se, apne acquaintances se puch sakte ho if they have ever sought help. Kyuki kya hota hai, mental health me hum log advertise nhi karte hai ki ‘iske paas jaao, uske paas jaao’. We don’t have advertisements as such. We go by what we call as reference, word of mouth. Isne kisi ko treat kiya aur achha laga unko experience toh vo aur logo ko batate hai. 

Ideally word of mouth, koi achha referral source ho toh aap uske paas jaa sakte ho. Otherwise aap apne area me pata kar sakte ho, if there are any. Apni university mein, apne offices mein already counselors hote hain. So you can try and approach them as well. It’s also very important to understand Chhaya ki, professional jab hum kehte hai ki, mental health professional. Toh vo teen categories ke hote hai. Sabse pehla category hota hai apka counselors.

Counselors hote hai, unki qualification hoti hai master’s degree. Unhone ne psychology me master’s kari hui hoti hai and vo, uhh, general life problems se deal karte hai. Clinical problems ko vo deal nahi karte hai. So they deal with things like: relationship issues, stress at work, burnout, grief, trauma, ye saari cheeze jo clinical disorders nahi hote. Ye ho gaya sabse pehla category which is counsellors. 

Second category hoti hai clinical psychologists. Jo ye log hote hai, India me unhone M.A. ke baad, master’s ke baad psychology mein M.phil kara hua hota hai. M.phil is a degree that allows them to be licensed, to practice psychological therapy and diagnose clinical problems. Toh ek RCI licensed psychologist, clinical psychologist hota hai. Toh yeh zaroor aapko check karna hai ki unke paas voh license hai ya nahi. Uske alawa they are not allowed to practise. So yeh log joh hote hai, yeh mental health disorders jaise maine bataya depression, anxiety etc. jaise disorders ko diagnose bhi karte hai, unki assessment yani test bhi karte hai, aur phir unko treatment, psychotherapy ke through which is top therapy, joh ki thodi detailed hoti hai, long term hoti hai, uske through handle karte hai, manage karte hai.

Third category hoti hai psychiatrist, yeh log voh hote hai jinhone MBBS kiya hota hai, toh yeh medical doctor hote hai, medical doctor ki degree ke baad inhone usually MD kia hota hai, inka bhi license hota hai par yeh license MCI se hota hai. Medical Council of India. So yeh aap jaaoge agar aapko medicines chahiye. 

Ab aapko agar yeh samajhna ki mujhe jaana kiske paas hai? Itne saare log hai, who do I go to? If you are feeling ki, you are not doing okay, right! Agar aapko lag raha hai ki aapko symptoms hai, mujhe theek nahi lag raha hai, I am feeling much more than the normal, toh aap any ethical and good clinical psychologist or psychiatrist , inn dono mein kisi ke bhi paas bhi jao ge.

Anyone who is ethical and good and competent, voh aapko bata payega, voh decide kar lega, voh bhanp lega ki problem kya hai, and they will be able to direct you to the right help. So don’t get worried ki aap ko jaana kiske paas hai, jahan bhi aapko reference mile aap jao. Agar aapko dawai ki zaroorat ki toh aapko psychiatrist ke paas refer kar diya jaayega aur aap psychiatrist ke paas ho, aur aapko therapy ki zaroorat hai, toh aapko clinical psycologist ke paas refer kardiya jaayega. 

So don’t worry about it and go to whoever you feel you can approach, that’s important, Going is the key, more than kiske paas jaana hai. 

Host: I think one question that comes to my mind after listening to you, woh yeh hai ki abb agar main maybe, I don’t know if it is right or wrong. But agar mai iss ko physical illness se compare karu, usually pehle hum ek general physician ke paas jaate hain, right?  Maybe for anything. Kuch bhi hume lag raha hai chahe hume chest mein pain ho ya fir hume leg mein pain ho usually  we’ll go to the general physician, they’ll narrow it down you know, what exactly could be the cause or  possible causes and direct you to specialised doctor. You know you’ll have to go to an orthopedic surgeon for this or you’ll have to go to a neurosurgeon for this, toh does that also translate into mental health as well ya fir? For example if I’m going through something I on my own cannot recognise or diagnose ke nahi mujhe yeh particular disorder hai ya fir mujhe yeh particular mental health concern ho raha hai, toh in this case also how would you recommend how should I go about it?

If suppose I’m not feeling myself and I feel something’s wrong but of course I will come to a professional to get their advice and understanding but how would I eventually go about it? Maan lijiye mujhe kuch aur cheez lag rahi hai aur then I go to say a practitioner and then how would that go – to maybe demystify therapy a little bit I guess?

Sonakshi: Right, so when you do seek help, maan lo apne saare barriers cross kar liye aur aap ek professional ke saamne baithe ho. you have to understand ke jo professionals hote hain yeh trained hote hain with years and years of training. For example meri khud 10 saal ki training hai in psychology, toh unko pata hota hai how to make you feel comfortable. Woh ek warm and empathetic, safe space create karte hain aap ke liye jahan par woh judge nahi karte. 

So your job going there is just to speak your mind. Jo bhi apko lag raha hai, aap unko batao. Be free because ek confidentiality hoti hai wahan par, we don’t break it. Unless kuch bahut hi severe ho. Har cheez job hi aap bataoge woh hamare tak hi rehta hai. 

So, speak your mind, feel safe over there. Jaise jaise aap apni baatein bataoge, jo professional hai wohh apne mind mein isska map bana raha hota hai ki what is to be done for this client next time. Kya inki problem severe hai ki inko medicines ki zarurat hai? Agar help hoyegi medicine se toh woh uska map bana rahe hote hain. 

Agar who therapy ke bare mein soch rahe hote toh har therapist ka ek alag style hota hai. Therapy ka hum itna padhte hai ki saare clients iss mein fit nahi hote. Toh kaun sahi se fit hoyega, hum woh bhi soch rahe hote hain. So after you are done telling your problem in the first session thoda sa aapko background puchenge, ke achha family mein kaun kaun hai? Aapko kya expectations hai yahan? Aap aaye ho toh kya cheez theek karna chahte ho aap? Aapki thodi feasibility dekhenge, agar cost involved hai toh who kaise karenge. Aapse woh saari discussions hoyengi ki appointments kab kab leni hai and you will promise to meet in the next session. Therapy session ya medical sessions is tarah se hote hain. 

Par mai ek cheez aapko zarur batana chahungi yahan pe ke chahe aap medicine lo, chahe aap therapy lo, chahe aap counseling lo – bina commitment ke, bina regularity ke problem solve nahi hogi. Mental health problem bukhar ki tarah nahi hai that I have a crocin and in five days I’m fine. It doesn’t work like that. It takes time, it takes patience and takes a lot of effort on your behalf and treating clinician’s behalf. Dono log aap efforts karte ho toh jaa ke baat banti hai. 

Host: Karat karat abhiyaas ke, hindi mein woh purani kahawat hai ki if you will not put in time, commitment and effort you will never reap the rewards. For example, in Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar, Amir Khan practiced so rigorously to eventually come out as a winner. You have to put in time and effort. Aur agar hum issko ek physically illness ka example de, toh jab hum antibiotic lete hain toh har doctor kehte hain apna course poora karna, you don’t leave an antibiotic midway right? Because you know that can have harmful impacts on your body. It’s the same thing. I’m sure with mental health you have to commit to it. Eventually kyunki, it is for your betterment right?

Sonakshi: This is right, jiss tarah se aapne yeh example diya, mai apne clients ko yeh bahut example deti hun ki jaise hi aapko better feel hone lagta hai aap ko aisa mann karta hai ki mai abb chhodh dun, aab toh mai theek hun, right? Therapy mein yeh bahut baar hota hai – jaisi aap ke symptoms better hogaye aapko lagta hai ab hogeya. Why should I come back?  Koi zarurat nahi hai ab mai theek hun! Par aap ka theek hona, viral fever ke antibiotic course ka third day hota hai. Wohh third day pe chodh diya toh fir symptoms vapis aane ka relapse hone ka chance hota hai so complete the course. Whether you are in therapy or medicine. Donot leave it half way. 

Host: I think that’s a very valid example and I think one which might be able to help all our viewers and listeners understand it well. Sonakshi it’s been so insightful, everything that you’ve said. 

I vouch myself to be somebody who is aware about mental health and who takes good care of it but I think aapne bahut achhe se starting points diye for anybody trying to understand how to you know take better care of our mental health . but I think hum iss mein nutrition ka role ignore nahi kar sakte. Hum kehte hain na tan ki shakti, mann ki shakti – hum apne tann ke liye aur shareer ke liye aacha khana khaate hain. Hum kehte hain eat your greens, have your juices. Eat healthy, eat ghar ka khana! Toh I wanted to ask you, hum apni mental health ko strong karne ke liye, aise kya food items hain jo humari diet ka zaruri part hona chahyie. Ya phir aise kya ingredients hai, protein honge, carbohydrates honge, which you would suggest, that they are a must. That they have to be part of our diet to improve and strengthen our mental health?

Sonakshi: yeh mere khyaal se bahut hi, I think relevant bhi hai aur hum issko, kahin na kahin ignore bhi kar dete hain. But mere hisaab se, I think best part yahi hai ki aap jo apni physical health ke liye karte ho aap bilkul same apni mental health ke liye karna hai. Koi nayi cheez nahi hai, koi new addition nahi hai. 

Hum kaafi baar kehte hain, koi aache nutrionist ke paas jaao woh aapse kahenge ki aap coffee band kardo, caffeine matt lo. Caffeine is known to increase stress levels. so coffee, tea, colas, sodas, chocolates yeh sab kam matra mein lena, paani zyaada peena, leafy greens, green vegetables khana, junk food kam karna aur substances na lena. 

Bahut saare log stress ko deal karne ke liye, cope karne ke liye, kabhi alcohol zyaada le lete hain, kabhi smoke zyaada kar lete hain. So try and avoid doing all of these things. So keep your diet home cooked, balanced with everything. Kuchh bhi cheez aapko ignore bhi nahi karni hai par zyada bhi nahi karni hai. 

Aur, mai aapko ek aur cheez batati hun jis par hum baar baar emphasis karte hain diets mein – ‘portion control’. Toh aapka eating behavior aapki mental health se related hota hai. Apne kabhi dekha hoga jab aap khud bahut stressed hote ho toh aap jaldi khaate ho aap ko realise hi nahi hota aap kya khaa rahe ho. Naa toh aap taste karte ho khaane ko, na toh apko pata hota hai kaise aur kitna khana hota hai. You usually end up over eating. So doing a diet properly and staying balanced is the key here. The key is that in your mental health, nutrition would be exactly what you do for your physical health. 

Host: I think that’s so important. Of course pandemic chal raha hai abhi, log bahar nahi jaa pa rahe hain abhi but that’s not an excuse, there’re so many things that we can do on an individual level within our home boundaries. You know, mere dadaji ek cheez bolte hain, ke jab bhi aap ek bite lete ho, toh usko 24 times chabaya karo before swallowing it. Like it should become a complete paste so that all the nutrients get absorbed to your body. 

You know, I think yeh kuchh kuchh cheezein hain jo hume apne badon ki sunni chahiye taki humara shayad stress kam ho. 

Before I conclude this conversation I wanted to ask you as our designated health guru for today’s show, what would be your health mantra? Aur you know that one thing you’d advise to all our listeners and viewers that has to be made part of our schedules. Jaise for example log kehte hain ke you know subha uth ke thodi exercise kara karo ya fir sair pe jaaya karo so what would be that one health mantra that you abide by and you would like to recommend to all our audience today?

Sonakshi: Well, I’ll tell you the secret I tell most people jab mujhse yeh question pucha jata hai. I think that secret is – take time out for yourself. Apne day ko, apne thoughts ko, apne mood ko aur apne emotions ko reflect aur introspect karne ke liye waqt – 15 minutes, 20 minutes in a day. Do that  to understand what your real feelings are. Kaai baar hum din mein itne zyaada magan ho jaate hain, we are so engrossed in what we are doing that we don’t realise that we are actually feeling so much. Especially jaisa apne kaha yeh pandemic time hai, bahut zaruri hai to take out 15 minutes in a day. Sit with yourself. Observe yourself. Observe your feelings.  See what you’re feeling so that you are better equipped to deal with it and manage it. 

Host: Oh my god, aap keh rahe the naa ki aap is conversation ko ek education ki tarah le, I think maine to iss ko ek bahut aache aur bahut important lesson ki tarah liya hai. Apne issko itne positive note pe conclude kiya, ki hum apne liye thoda samay nikaale. Kyunki hum hamesha rafter mein rehte hain, hamesha samay ke against bagh rahe hote hain but hum kahin na kahin apne aap ko bhul jaate hain. Ya fir hum bhool jaate hain ki after all we have a beating heart, we have our emotions and we have moods. They all need their time, all need their break. 

Gaadi ka petrol bhi khatam hota hai. Hamara bhi shayad kabhi na kabhi hota hai, ussko recharge karna bahut zaruri hai. 

Sonakshi I can’t thank you enough. Main khud mental health ke bare mein itna jaanna chahti thi aur apne itni saralta se itni saari information di jo humko bahut help karegi. 

Everybody who is listening and might be confused about how to approach their mental health, is going to get helped a lot. So I would like to thank you with all the love and all the warmth for taking out the time and sharing your pearls of wisdom with us. 

Sonakshi: Thank you so much. I’m so glad ke aapne yeh discussion rakhi aur jitney logo tak pahunche gi, agar uss mein se 1% bhi mujhe lagta hai help hua, toh I would consider this as a success. Thank you so much.

Host: And I think just to conclude, if I recall my three takeaways from this delightful and very insightful conversation are one, I am going to take out time for myself. I might have a lot of drive, I might have a lot of energy but if I don’t take out time for myself woh sab awards, ya woh sab raftar ka koi fayada nahi. Eventually you know aap race bhi haar jaoge aur aap thak ke aage badh nahi paoge. 

Second, I would like to be a better support system. All my friends to all my family members. As you said agar hum woh help support aur comfort offer nahi kar payenge then we have no right to demand it or accept it on the other end. 

And third of course kyunki hum nutrition aur hum jo khaana khaate hai  such as juices, or any other form of food, hum ussko nazarandaz nahi Kar sakte. That’s very very important. 

There is something that I have been trying for a little while and I would like to recommend to you is the OZiva Superfood Greens and Herbs Blend. That’s something which has proven to boost our mental stimulus and also make us healthier overall. So that is something jo main aapko recommend karna chahungi. I do hope you give it a try.

Sonakshi:  Absolutely, I’d love to give it a shot. Definitely. 

Host: Thank you, Sonakshi. Aapke samay ke liye aur aapke wisdom ke liye. I wish you a safe weekend and I wish you a lot of health, love and affection. Thank you so so much.

Sonakshi: You too! Thank you. 

Host: Sonakshi you made me feel so much lighter today. I mean I was always aware of my mental health but today I believe I found some anchors and starting points to take better care of my mental health. And I am so glad that you shed light on the importance of the right juices and the right food items to relate our mental health. You know, here is where I would like to recommend you the OZiva Greens and Herbs blend, which not only stimulates our mental health but also overall makes us healthier. 

Till then take better care of your health hustlers. And take charge of your mental health. See you. Buh bye.

Visit to view all our clean, plant-based products that are made to make your health journey better. I will see you next week, with another special guest and another chapter in our health story. Take care be safe and Be Bettr. This is Nishi Joshi, signing off.

Thanks for listening to our show, Conversations with OZiva. If you would like more information on anything health, from our blog, or about our range of blant based products, simply visit Also if you have any questions or topics you would us to see in future episodes, we’d really love to hear from you. Simply drop us an email to

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