I’ve never been particularly open about my own feelings, it’s a well-known fact that males between the age of 18 and 45 struggle to open up. It’s taken the death of a course-mate and the admission of depression from one of my best friends for me to realise how much of a problem this is.
I’m not particularly learned when it comes to what Hinduism says about suicide and mental health. A lot of my understanding comes from the cultural norms that are practised in parts of India. If anything, I just wanted to use the medium of being president of the society to get the chance to talk to a large group of people as well as develop my understanding of Hinduism. Hindus should care for everyone as everyone is member of our family this is why the religion is so unique. Everyone should be equal no matter if they have a health issue or illness.
I’ve known my friend and now a brother to me, Josh for nearly 15 years now; he’s always the person people gravitate towards in a room. When I went to university it was a weird experience for me to go from seeing him every day to not seeing at all. I think that’s why when he told me he’d been struggling with depression and anxiety I was massively taken aback. He’s one of the major reasons I wanted to open up. There are too many people, who talk about struggling, who never open up and end up getting swamped in the current drag of day-to-day life. That’s fundamentally the reason I wanted to do a talk on this subject.
Normally when we do aartis we have around 30 people attend. For us to get close to double that this week was a testament to the topic we were willing to take on. I was honest from the start, I told people that this topic was not going to be an easy one to talk about and I think from the seriousness of my first slide, people grasped what was going on. The members found the talk very insightful and honest. They were able to discuss issues and share their views in the space.
I’ll be honest; normally I don’t mind talking in front of a large group of people. However, today I felt a large degree of responsibility to do this topic justice. Although I hid behind examples when talking about the subject I felt like I was struggling, I used examples as a front and it’s taken until writing this piece to admit I was talking about what I had gone through and struggled with. I wanted to convey the message to the students at Manchester on how important mental health is and getting them to discuss the issue also gave them the opportunity to open up and share their views.
I’m finding it difficult to fully explain everything in this piece, but I want to make the final and most important point that everyone has someone to talk to. Please, open up, please talk more, please care more, I genuinely believe that we can all help someone.
–Akul Purohit, NHSF Manchester President