“Mental health is vital for our overall health” : Diya Jaiswal

Diya Jaiswal is an alumni of Loreto House and La Martiniere for Girls in Kolkata and is an Economics Honors Graduate from Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi. She has been a corporate investment banker with ANZ Bank,and is a Past President with Ladies Study Group. She is the founder of Empowerful,a mental well-being centre with a global client base and a social media following of over 2 lakh people.

A certified Counsellor, Life Coach and NLP Practitioner, she is constantly upgrading her skill set and has received her latest certification in April 2022 as a Happiness Coach from Berkeley Institute in the US.

An exclusive interaction with Diya Jaiswal

Q.What inspired you to start Empowerful?

A) A personal health scare some years back made me realise how much we take our life for granted, and how important it is to value each breath we take, and remain happy. To create this awareness among others in a responsible way, I felt it important to arm myself with the requisite education on mental health. I therefore realigned my career path,went back to academics for three years,andthen set up Empowerfulwith the required skillset and knowledge.Empowerful is a mental wellbeing centre and has been functioning for almost 7 years and works with individuals on a one-on-one basis,and,withgroups and corporates through a series of curated workshops and sessions. Asthe world continues to progress and explore the field of mental health,there is a constant flow of fresh concepts and information on the subject that is available,and so, I describe myself as “work-in-progress’ as I constantlyand consistently do enhancement certifications to upgrade my knowledge levels toensure I can deliver the best advice and support to others.

Q.How do you see the  state of mental health awareness in India?

A) I feel very encouraged that as a country we have all started to speak openly on this subject. It is no longer the elephant in the room, and instead, is now an acceptable area of conversation, concern and treatment.I feel, both as a nation, and as individuals,we are on the right path on this aspect of life,and today it is considered normal and routine to acknowledge and address the mental health issues given the stressful lives we all lead. While we have a lot more work that needs to be done, the process is very much on and the future is hopeful.

Q.How does a woman’s mental health impact her overall health?

A)  I don’t think mental health is a gender specific subject and instead it is a reality for all across gender, race and age. it is true however that social and economic factors put women at greater risk of poor mental health than men, and it is also true that women generally find it easier to talk about their feelings and have stronger social networks, both of which can often help protect their mental health.

Q.Being a teenager is difficult no matter what, and the (COVID-19) is making it even harder. How can teenagers can protect their mental health during these challenging times?

A) The pandemic has forced teens to be removed from normal social, physical, and educational interactions that they were typically used to doing and this has created stress, fear,grief and uncertainty for many of them.It is therefore very important for us as adults to keep lines of communication open between us and teenagers,whilestill giving them their space. Sensitive dialogues with them recognising that we understand and respect the effects and fallout that  lockdownhas had on them,and discussing and suggesting solutions and coping mechanisms can help.

Q.How important is it for company leaders to be involved in workplace mental-health efforts?

A) The one silver lining in the last two years has been the normalization of the incidence of mental health challenges at the workplace and the realisation that it needs to be prioritised. Business leaders have moved from considering mental health as an individual challenge to one of collective priority. They have taken into cognizance how critical it is to make a sweeping culture change in their attitude and to include more compassion and vulnerability to create sustainable work ethics.

Q.What are your general tips for staying mentally healthy?

A) Mental health is vital for our overall health and can improve or deteriorate our physical state. Simple daily practices can make us feel mentally stronger and stay happy. Happiness is definitely the key to better mental health and the past two years bear testimony to this as the word “happiness” remains the one of the most searched for words on the internet in recent times. Happiness is not an end goal and instead it is something that is already within us and will steer us ahead to achieve our goals. We just need tolook within us to find it, recognise it and cherish it. Daily habits like waking up with a smile, practicing gratitude and compassion, and focussing on strengthening personal relationships will help us break the barriers to finding happiness.

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