Where we help you help yourself
Prepared by: Manasi Gupta, Volunteer for IEEE VIT Student Branch and SIGHT
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to the way we live our lives, and with it, at times, uncertainty, altered daily routines, financial pressures, and social isolation. We may worry about getting sick, how long the pandemic will last, whether our job will be affected and what the future will bring. Information overload, rumors, and misinformation can make our life feel out of control and make it unclear what to do. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many experience stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, and loneliness. And mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, can worsen. Surveys show a major increase in the number of adults who report symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia during the pandemic, compared with surveys before the pandemic. Some people have increased their use of alcohol or drugs, thinking that can help them cope with their fears about the pandemic. In reality, using these substances can worsen anxiety and depression.
Huesofthemind is a societal initiative from IEEE volunteers that has provided mental health resources accessible, available and affordable to many during the COVID-19 pandemic. These online resources are complemented by HueShare, a network of mental health professionals pan India that provides subsidized mental health consultation and care. The e-resources include workshops and other technology interventions such as apps to facilitate the same in both English and vernacular languages. Huesofthemind is a non-profit organization run by progressive youth with Manasi Gupta, IEEE Student Branch (SB) & SIGHT volunteer as founder with the support of her fellow volunteers of IEEE SB and SIGHT at Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), Vellore, India.
“I founded Huesofthemind to empower; to learn, cope, share and heal together. Over the years our vision has grown, and we strive to make mental health resources more accessible and affordable.”
–➔ Manasi Gupta, Founder
A home is a place where you allow yourself to feel most like you- a safe place, a place of no judgment, surrounded by people who comfort and support you in your life’s pursuit of sunnier meadows. As college undergraduates and IEEE volunteers, we realized a massive taboo around mental health. We understood the concept of a ‘safe space’, where we are encouraged to have opinions and open discussions on topics that directly impact us. Seeking a safe space strengthens our mental health by letting us be vulnerable. By sharing our experiences, challenges, shortcomings, and more- we have the power to empower many more lives and not feel alone or unsupported in this journey.
“A reason why HOTM is a safe space is because of the openness of the people working in this organization.”
➔ Sanjana Srinivasan, Research & Content Team member
In a world filled with judgment and negative stereotypes, having a home — physical or virtual — to open up and ask for help is critical for mental health. At Huesofthemind, we’ve always believed foremost in inculcating a Safe Space for our community. We call ourselves Team Sahaara – Sahaara translates to support. Our team envisions supporting others and making a difference in their lives The objective is to try to stir more conversations related to mental health – spreading awareness and reducing the stigma around it. We aspire to create a space that encourages inclusivity through workshops and campaigns.
We launched our first (of several!) books, Hues of You, curated with nothing but love and the pure feeling of expressing ourselves in the most genuine manners possible. There’s nothing more valuable for us than the immense and immeasurable support of our community for each initiative of ours!
“When we had just started with Huesofthemind, we wanted to make a positive impact in the mental health space but had little idea how to do so. We faced tons of challenges but we persevered and that has what led HOTM where it is today 🙂”
➔ Rohit Chakraborty, Design Coach
We have had the absolute honor of harboring four wondrous initiatives successfully. The first initiative is HueShare, our support group facilitation service for our members to share their experiences or seek guidance from our team of experienced Mental Health Professionals Onboard Team Sahara. Our second initiative -Hues of You- this coffee-table book brings peace and soothes the soul with every turned page. Shortly after publishing it, our team came together to start HuesRadio, a podcast that discusses the various aspects of mental health, unpacking one concept and our experiences with it after the other with each progressing episode. A journey unforgettable, the release of the last episode of Season 1 of HuesRadio made the whole of Team Sahaara sparkle with the glow of accomplishment and pride. With the generous Indian festival of Diwali around the corner in October 2021, we launched HuesMerch – our merchandise in collaboration with talented small businesses! From planners and stickers to potted plants and crocheted plushies, we ensured that the gift-giving season was filled with joy, mental health awareness, and support for our fellow hard-working small businesses!
Among other accomplishments, our milestones have made us proudest! We are the youngest team to be awarded the National IHW Award by the Former Health Secretary of India in honor of our repository that helps individuals connect with mental health professionals in and around their city. With over 30 editions of our fortnightly newsletter, HuesLetter, we celebrated the art of having more open conversations with our families. Our workshops have impacted more than 10,000 people in India and beyond! We’ve accomplished a lot in a comparatively short period, which is our biggest and proudest achievement in itself. And we’re more than determined to keep this achievement intact for every project to be taken up henceforth!
We are truly grateful to help you here, message us to connect with professional help and also to get access to helpful resources.
Check the COVID19 Heroes Video at: https://newsletter.ieeer10.org/home_jan2022/covid-19-videos/