• 10 Aug
    Oyindrila Basu

    Demystifying Mental Healthcare Bill


    Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2017

    Finally, India is progressing towards a stigma-free society. Last day, on Quora, a person asked me, that she doesn’t like people with Asperger’s Syndrome, so is that wrong. I explained to her how she was building up a stigma within herself, and how it was not good for her mental health also; I referred to her an article on A Clean India, free from taboos, stigmas and misconceptions and hence someone commented on the post with an acute sarcasm, “A Clean India? Haha…you have centuries to go”, well I was really embarrassed to find what people conserve about India and their attitude towards a social cause.

    But today, I can proudly answer the person, that it won’t take centuries anymore to preserve and emancipate the rights of mentally growing population of our Nation; stigma is gradually getting down-marked with the ink eraser of law.

    The Parliament on Monday passed the ‘Mental Healthcare Bill’ in the Lok Sabha. The bill was previously passed in the Rajya Sabha in August last year. This bill intends to replace the Act of 1987 which is found to be inadequate for people with mental health challenges, in the present scenario.

    This is a very progressive step towards securing a position for this particular population, which, though not correctly measured, should be 6-7% of Indian population according to the statistical reports of 2005.

    Till date, people suffering from depression, stress or anxiety feared to voice their problem openly as because the society could call them ‘mad’, if they opted for treatment; even 1-2% who were severely affected by schizophrenia or PTSD found no help in their locality, as because good mental health treatment and psychiatric therapy was not common in all clinics, hospitals and the like areas.

    The picture we had in mind reflected, that people with any kind of disillusionment were sent to the asylum where they were given electric shocks to pacify activity, irrespective of diagnosis.

    However, the new bill passed, guarantees every individual the right to access mental health care facilities irrespective of caste, creed and colour.

    The Bill states thatevery person the right to access mental health care and treatment from the government. This right includes affordable, good quality, easy access to services such as minimum mental health services in every district. Persons with mental illness also have the right to equality of treatment and protection from inhuman and degrading treatment.”

    The Bill also ensures that every individual have the right to protect themselves from “inhuman and degrading treatment” and establish “right to equality of treatment…. and complain regarding deficiencies in provision of mental health care”.

    So this is a huge step towards fighting social stigma and attitude towards mental health. When the law declares a behaviour as nuisance and punishable, it automatically reduces in volume; we all remember how dowry and domestic violence on women, had to be legally declared as offence, to protect women’s rights; we have not been able to eradicate it completely, however, the society cannot practice such things freely anymore.

    The most important aspect of this Bill is on decriminalizing of suicide, which was very much required.

    “A person who attempts suicide shall be presumed to be suffering from mental illness at that time and will not be punished under the Indian Penal Code.  Electro-convulsive therapy is allowed only with the use of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia. The therapy is prohibited for minors.”

    The Bill also specifies the process and procedure to be followed for admission, treatment and discharge of mentally ill individuals.  A decision to be admitted in a mental health establishment shall, as far as possible, be made by the person with the mental illness except when he is unable to make an independent decision or conditions exist to make a supported admission unavoidable.”

    Hence a lot of queries regarding mental healthcare therapies are already answered.

    However, the Bill is delegated to a few challenges in implementation as well. The Bill doesn’t include any specification on the guardianship of a mentally challenged individual; what will be his rights and duties towards the individual etc. hence a person with severe mental health problem may not get a secure guardian for survival and guidance.

    Also it doesn’t discuss the financial source for the treatment facilities which will be provided to people with mental health deviations. 

    However, the Bill is a form of motivation for every Indian citizen and we can breathe a sigh of relief as because this a global measure towards promotion of awareness and good mental health.


  • 09 Aug
    Oyindrila Basu

    Name their Emotions and Understand them, Better.

    girl helping other girl

    “You know, I just can’t stand this anymore. How dare he talk to me like that! I am going to break up with him soon………Please tell me what to do”….

    These kinds of words we are used to hear daily, either from our friends, cousins or close acquaintances; heightened emotional conversation about something that is going on in their life.

    How do we usually react to such versions? Maybe we say “you should have thought before getting into the relationship”, or “great! Just quit, he is not worth your attention”, or just “see what you want to do”.

    However, we do not realise that our friend expects us to be like a sounding board which will absorb all the vibrations and will only leave a positive aura.

    Surprised! That is true.

    When someone shares a problem with us, they want us to understand them; they want us to relate to their ideas and emotions and then opt for a solution.

    It would be so much better, if in the above situation we could say “Don’t worry, I can understand you feel disappointed and depressed”; when we say this, we are naming his/her emotions and that makes the other person feel that you do understand them, and that you are actually listening.

    We all want to be understood; without it, how much ever friends we have or we communicate with, we are alone. But for that, we should always take the first step towards others.

    Understanding others may not be that easy, but we can always try.


    Rule 1- Words mean nothing.

    We should first understand, that what a person is saying, doesn’t mean anything literal. For e.g. my mother is very angry because I have returned home at 11 pm in the night and she comes forth with a rolling pin saying “I will kill you today.”

    Does that mean, that she will literally do it, or she even wants to kill me? No. Isn’t it? She is just too much upset with me because I have not followed the usual prescribed norm of the household; she was also worried and anxious about my safety; (such that she felt she herself could die of that tension :) ) she is depressed with my negligent and irresponsible behaviour towards her and hence all these emotions accumulate and come out as anger. So look beyond words; sometimes, some gestures, eye movement, hand movements, voice etc. can express much more than words of the tongue.


    Rule 2- Put your predicament at the back shelf while listening to your friends.

    Sometimes, we are judgemental about a particular situation. Our assumption of a situation, develop from our own experience and emotion, and this overlaps with the emotion of our friend.

    For e.g. my friend is talking about a small fight between her and her boyfriend, who had arrived late for a movie; if I have had a breakup soon, it is not difficult for me to conclude that there is a serious problem in their relationship as well, and I react “All boys are the same, they will betray today or tomorrow”.

    Now this reaction can really be harmful; my friend who is currently frustrated with her boyfriend’s behaviour may get influenced with my sour words and affect her relationship; it can also be true, that my friend think that I am just blowing my own broken flute and not trying to communicate with her situation. Hence whenever you are listening to someone, put your own agendas aside which can influence your perception.


    Rule 3- Reciprocate their emotional expressions.

    When you are listening to someone, you should first identify your importance. You need to understand the other, and it is essential you realise that first. Your friend may say, “I am fine”.

    Observe the expression of your companion. Read through the gestures; see whether she is smiling, blushing, tearing, pulling back her breath or exhaling hopelessly to understand what he/she actually feels at the moment.

    Hold your friends hand or pat his/her back, or just say “I understand” with genuine expression, to reciprocate the same emotions. Your wise behaviour will actually strengthen your friend with moral support.


    Rule 4- All of us are lonely.

    We are social animals, and we need someone to pour out whatever we have in our stomach, hence all of us feel lonely at some point of time or the other, and need a person to share our thoughts with.


    Rule 5- We all have short memory.

    This is a simple thing we all should remember. Most of us expect that our friends, companions and well-wishers will remember each and everything about us, from birthday, to anniversary, to 3-month anniversary to weekly anniversary, our favourite colour, food, cosmetic etc. etc.

    But this is an impractical approach in any relationship. We all forget; names, phone numbers, birthdates and many more things, hence if a person forgets our birthday and says ‘sorry’ later, it is very clear, he/she did not forget it on purpose, it is in human nature.

    You do it, I do it, we all do it. But again, to develop this understanding, we need to put ‘ME’ behind.


    Rule 6- Identify and name the emotions.

    While someone describes events to you, hear his/her voice. Does it sound agitated or calm? Identify it. That is important.

    Often we try camouflaging our sentiments and emotions with bold statements; we feel safe that way in a social structure, but a true friend needs to see through those house-guards.

    If your friend describes her day at the University waiting for some selection results, saying “It was a huge queue; we all waited for 3 long hours, so that we could go forth and submit the final documents for our admission, but as we reached the door, we were informed that I have not been selected for the course; but I have very good results, I will get in some other place”, it is clear that she was disappointed and upset, so just name her emotions to make her know that you understand her.

    Your reaction should not be “Don’t worry, you will get something”, she knows she will get it, rather you should say, “I know you have felt disappointed with these results, but it’s great that you are so confident of yourself; your confidence will surely give you success”.

    When you name the emotions, ‘disappointment’ and ‘self-confidence’, you act as a true friend and confidant. Even if your friend wasn’t so confident, she will be so now.

    Image Source

  • 16 Feb
    Oyindrila Basu

    You are worthy, love yourself, everyone loves you for what you are

    You are worthy, love yourself, everyone loves you for what you are


    “But I have that within which passes show”_ Hamlet.

    If you are thinking that you are just not the right one to exist, you are a failure, you are worthless, you are of no good, think once again.

    Ponder on the various moments of your achievement and love yourself.

    Think of the moments people have thanked you and love yourself.

    Think of the moments you have thanked others and love yourself.

    Loving yourself for what you are, is important. Self-assessment is essential in every single step of our lives. To know, what ‘I am, what I can do, what are the goods in me’ is necessary.

    Each one on earth is precious, and is there for a purpose, for imparting love and wisdom to the world, so there is no reason why anyone will be worthless.

    When you respect yourself, you will respect others.

    If you love yourself, you will love others.

    You do not need to chase love or worth, that will automatically come to you if you are-


    Confident: your inner confidence is reflected in your attitude. If you are sure of yourself, you talk straight, you walk straight.


    Positive: your positivity is very effective, not only for you, but it can also charge up others, as your positive spirit gets infected in others. When you know you can do it, it reflects your courage and perseverance, others automatically appreciate that about you.


    Honest: Truth and honesty are the biggest qualities of a person. It is said, no one can live truthful and candid for his entire lifetime at a stretch. However, if you can do it, that will be enough reason for you to love and respect yourself. When you are upright in your opinions and decisions, people will love you, respect you, even if they do not acknowledge it always.


    Passionate and creative: if you love your work, and use your creative ideas in it, you will have no lack of engagement. More work, happier. Moreover, if you create something unique yourself, you can’t stop admiring it, your love for your work will give you joy and ultimate pleasure of achievement.


    Careful of your looks: Do not dress up to impress others. Dress up, deck yourself for your own sense of pleasure and admiration. You can use make-up of your choice, or go for a salon massage, or a new haircut may be, but that should not be as per what others are expecting from you. You should do it because you like it, and you would love to see yourself that way in the mirror.


    Humorous: your sense of humour will always do good for you and others. It is easy to make others cry, but if you can make others laugh; you are the best person. Your jokes will efface the sorrow of another person; your laughter will keep your heart healthy too.


    Smile: your smile will make wonders. Accept the challenges of life with a smile. Forget your fears and worries with a smile. Hardships will come and go, but keep your smile immovable; others also rejuvenate with your smile.


    Image Source


  • 09 Aug
    Pooja Sarkar

    Tips for Parents having children with Autism


    Autism”, nowadays it’s a big term to describe as it is becoming second most prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder among children. It affects every 1 of 88 children in the US. In India its 1% to 1.5% of children are affected by autism. Autism is a developmental disorder which is characterized by impaired development in communication, social interaction and behavior. It not only affects the children also it affects to their family also. In the past, autism has been confused with childhood schizophrenia or childhood psychosis. It has also been misunderstood as schizotypal personality disorder in some adults. As additional research information about autism becomes available, so now some of the past confusion about the disorder has been resolved.

    Autism shows a few symptoms which were mentioned above:

    • Impaired social interaction
    • Repetitive behavior
    • Impaired communication
    • Poor eye contact

    Apart from those symptoms, there are many other overlapping symptoms.

    • Inadequate social smile
    • Doesn’t mix up with peers
    • Doesn’t share his/her things
    • Doesn’t respond on his/her own name
    • Make inappropriate sounds to get attention
    • Doesn’t imitate gestures.

    Most importantly, the child develops many behavioral issues which are unacceptable by society. It becomes quite impossible to deal with those issues for a parent. The child having autism has some problem in social interaction, he/she wants to stay alone, and not shows age-appropriate behavior, so they cannot get that much social acceptance what is required.

    Parents of children having autism face many troubles in family situation as well as in social environment due to child’s behavioral issues. There were many parents who told me that their relatives didn’t invite them for their son because they think the child will be “unlucky” for them. They also believe that the child is a result of his parents’ sin. In the 21st century, most of educated people have this wrong notion about autism.

    To make a nice society, everyone should know the actual fact, there are many causes of autism, but not one of them is “Parents’ sin”.  The autism can be happened by some genetic causes, It can be happened that no one was autistic earlier in the child’s family, but this is not only the cause for autism. Apart from that it's important to check the child’s prenatal history, i.e. both child and mother’s health during pregnancy, & importantly child’s health after birth etc.

    Parents having children with autism have stress and anxiety due to every new problem of the child. Autism children have some sensory issues also. The child may be frustrated  because he cannot communicate with others, so he is doing anything which can draw attention of others.

    Most of parents having children with autism think over and over the problem, and instead of spending time with children, they go to many therapists with their children all over the day. It’s important to do therapy as well, but in all cases break is needed. Whatever the child is learning he/she needs to provide sometimes to store this information.

    These parents must pace themselves by doing whatever they want to do.

     Don’t  engage all the time in internet for searching “Autism details”. Go for outing with friends, spend time together.

     Get touched into social networking sites, be connected into old friends, as autistic child’s parents tend to get isolated for the reason of this disorder.

    Don’t do discussion with everyone about your child’s problem. You may get many responses or suggestions which ultimately cannot be worthy for you.

    Most important thing is accepting the fact, don’t try to confuse by thinking of any miracle. Work at a child’s difficulty level, he/she will be definitely improved.

    Don’t think what the child will do in the future. Work at present, the future will be your present only.

    Sometimes ignore works the best to protest against the negatives. Avoid negative people and ignore their words. Your negative thinking will affect on your child’s health who are the most precious to you. Say against one’s negatives and say positives to yourself.

    Try to learn more about behavioral training and proper diet for your child.

    If your child needs medication, go for it. Don’t stop it without doing a consultation with doctor.

    Now, Autism is treatable, but its need to diagnose at the right time. It must be checked by an expert. No two autistic children show the very same symptoms , it depends on person to person.





  • 15 Feb
    Dr. KV Anand

    A Guide to avoid and deal with Emotional Blackmail

    How to avoid emotional blackmail



    Encountering an Emotional blackmail is not a pleasant thing. Many of the people do fall prey for emotional blackmail during some stages of their life. In fact, there are many manipulative people out there, who seem to be enjoying and overwhelmingly happily indulge in such activities which somehow provide them mental and physical satisfaction. Such people feel that the prey will always be vulnerable to their overture.


    How to define Emotional blackmail

    Emotional Blackmail and FOG (fear, obligation and guilt), terms coined by psychotherapist Susan Forward, are about controlling people in relationships and the theory that fear, obligation or guilt ("FOG") are the transactional dynamics at play between the controller and the person being controlled.

    Because you should not fall prey to emotional blackmailing, you should try your level best to avoid it or you should avoid people who are thinking you are the prey for them. You may think, you are already in such a situation. In that case, you should recognize the emotional blackmail signs If you think you’re already in such a situation, you need to be able to observe and recognize the signs of emotional blackmail and put a full stop to it.

    Please look for these issues which can determine whether you are emotional blackmail situation.


    Situations in which you can be sure, there is danger

    1. Even though you did nothing wrong, you always seem to end up apologizing for your actions
    2. If your spouse or partner never takes no for an answer even in silliest cases.
    3. If you always end up giving in to your spouse or partner’s wishes at the expense of your own.
    4. If the amount of times you make sacrifices for your partner or spouse far outweighs the number of times they do the same for you.
    5. If you’re being intimidated or threatened into abiding by your spouse or partner’s wishes.


    The Typical Emotional Blackmail Tactic

    A book titled as “Emotional Blackmail”, by sensational psychotherapist author Susan Forward and Donna Frazier, summarizes that those who use emotional blackmail employ a Fear --> Emotion --> Guilt (FOG) tactic.

    The primary stage includes the controller making the casualty apprehension, outrage or baffle them. Thus, this makes the casualty feel committed to meet their requests. On the off chance that the casualty neglects to go along, then the outcome is the sentiments of blame being impacted by the controller for not keeping his or her wishes. All of this is done very subtly – the manipulator uses tactics to appeal to the victim’s sensibilities. They make their demands seem reasonable, and make the victim feel selfish if they aren’t given what they want.

    On the off chance that you feel that you're the casualty of FOG strategies by your accomplice or life partner, ask somebody why should close give you an alternate point of view on your relationship by letting you know what they see all things considered. 


    Powerless Individuals

    People who are most vulnerable against emotional blackmail are the ones who experience difficulty saying "no". In the event that you believe you're one of those individuals, you have to permit yourself to get settled with the considered rejecting or disproving what you are not content with doing. Consider the manner of speaking you'll use to absolute the little word later on, and additionally the words you'll use to reflect strengthening and help you feel more in control of the circumstances you're liable to confront.


    The most effective method to Put a Stop to Emotional Blackmail


    1. Organize your needs, needs and inclinations over those of your partner.
    2. Set clear boundaries that cannot be overstepped in any circumstances.
    3. Understand that despite the fact that you might love your accomplice all that much, your prosperity starts things out. Share your own needs and make bargains as needs be.
    4. Remember that giving in to emotional blackmail will only make your situation worse.
    5. In the event that your accomplice or companion is debilitating you with physical viciousness, or suggesting the dangers of physical brutality, leave instantly and alarm the powers of the dangers being leveled against you.
    6. Reach out to your social support system and seek professional help if you need to.


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