Let’s Talk Mental Health: Mumbai Event Report

By Vandita Morarka

We curated a space with Bibliotherapy* for conversations on mental health, drawing upon the narratives in the book, “Real stories of dealing with Depression” by Amrita Tripathi & Arpita Anand in Mumbai, at Doolally Khar.

A Mumbai workshop with Real Stories of Dealing with Depression
The book ‘Real Stories of Dealing with Depression’; Photo by Vandita Morarka for The Health Collective

The space focused on reimagining what wellbeing, mental health, self and community care can look like – especially with a focus on the intersections of identity and work. It was led by Vandita Morarka of The Health Collective and Apurupa Vatsalya of Bibliotherapy and about 30 people attended.

The introductory bit of our workshop (which took place on October 2, 2019) was focused on building a keener awareness of what well-being means to us as individuals and as a community. We identified eight aspects of well-being that we wanted to focus on: spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, relational, social, sexual and economical, and had participants map out what that aspect meant for them in smaller groups, followed by a larger discussion on all aspects. The larger discussion also looked at how such well-being and its definition differs across our identities – from gender, caste, class to age and the language we speak.

Lets Talk Mental Health
Photo from the Mental Let’s Talk Mental Health event in Mumbai by The Health Collective and Bibliotherapy


The second half of the workshop was focused on understanding how identity and power dynamics affect our mental health through stories.

We spent some time reading and reflecting on two stories from the book, “Real stories of dealing with Depression”: The Freedom Series: Being Gay And ‘Manning Up’ In The Media, by Anant Zanane, and More Than Just The Blues — Life With Post-Partum Depression, by Prerna Uppal.

Let's Talk Mental Health
How do you feel after reading these stories? From the Let’s Talk Mental Health Event in Mumbai

We also discussed how these stories made us feel and the key common thread that emerged was the resonance we felt with both stories. Each person in the room was able to connect with and find a part of themselves in both these stories.

We concluded the workshop with some movement-based activities, positive affirmations, and with firm steps towards designing a self-care plan for ourselves.


*Bibliotherapy is a mental health book club, envisaged as a safe space for sharing. You can follow them on Instagram @bibliotherapymumbai


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Disclaimer: Material on The Health Collective cannot and does not claim to substitute for expert advice from a trained professional.



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