Neerja Birla says mental healthcare should be available in rural areas, finds art therapy liberating

Birla and her team are trying to reach out to more people to make them think about their mental health.

Agencies
Birla herself used to paint and finds that art therapy is liberating.
There’s no better investment than in your health, especially your mental health. One of the people at the forefront of pushing for mental health reforms is Neerja Birla, who is the Founder and Chairperson of Mpower. She says that in India, we’ve come a long way. What was once considered taboo to speak about is now getting the attention it deserves, but there is still a long way to go.

“In recent years, we have made significant strides in the way we approach mental health – there is more awareness about the impact of and the need for mental health care today. But I do fear that most of the change is still limited to the very urban demographic and that we have miles and miles to go in terms of ensuring that awareness and access to mental healthcare are prevalent at the rural, grass-roots level or even at the semi- urban levels,” Birla says.

Birla and her team are trying to reach out to more people to make them think about their mental health and their latest project aims to use art to combat the stigma associated with mental illness. Mpower in association with Chal Rang De organized its 3rd edition of ‘Art Express’, a two-day wall painting extravaganza to normalize the topic of mental illness in the society through art, on the 25th and 26th of January at Mumbai Central Station.


Birla herself is a fan of art therapy and says, “While one may not be able to make art on a moving train or car, I find that having beautiful, vibrant art to look at while one travels can help to infuse positivity and keep one’s mind inspired and calm. There are also a lot of apps that offer colouring activities for adults, which I personally find very calming and enjoyable, and is the next best thing to the feeling of holding a paintbrush in real life.”

Birla herself used to paint and finds that art therapy is liberating. “It gives me an outlet to express emotions that one might not know how to articulate. It also creates a safe space where there is no right or wrong and no judgement – only a sense of freedom in creating something and having others connect to the thoughts you’ve expressed. I find that art helps me calm down, focus on the moment and get in touch with my own emotions.”

From Neerja Birla To Parth Jindal, Top Bosses & Their Fitness Goals
1/5
Narendra Modi may have needed India skipper Virat Kohli to set him a fitness challenge, but these business heads are setting their own health goals.
Narendra Modi may have needed India skipper Virat Kohli to set him a fitness challenge, but these business heads are setting their own health goals.
Rashesh Shah, Chairman, Edelweiss Group

You’re never too old to do something for the first time and Rashesh Shah, chairman, Edelweiss Group, is testament to that having learnt to swim when he was 49. He exercises 5-6 times a week, with swimming being his favourite activity. Shah also credits exercise for making him become more conscious about his diet and sleeping pattern, saying, “A healthy body makes way for a healthy mind.”

(Image: Beyond the Boardroom/Jatin Kampani, Jaideep Chowdhury )
Rashesh Shah, Chairman, Edelweiss Group You’re never too old to do something for the first time and Rashesh Shah, chairman, Edelweiss Group, is testament to that having learnt to swim when he was 49..
Read More
Parth Jindal, MD, JSW Cement

Parth Jindal, scion of the JSW Group, is passionate about sports and enjoys table tennis and football. But his number one passion is the same as his dad’s — squash. The father-son duo would play together regularly until the junior Jindal upped his game. He says light-heartedly, “He’d beat me till I was about 17. Then I beat him and he quit playing regularly.”

(Image: Beyond the Boardroom/Jatin Kampani, Jaideep Chowdhury)
Parth Jindal, MD, JSW Cement Parth Jindal, scion of the JSW Group, is passionate about sports and enjoys table tennis and football. But his number one passion is the same as his dad’s — squash. The ..
Read More
Neerja Birla, Founder, mPower

Neerja Birla, founder of mPower, hasn’t been shy about talking about the mental health struggles she has been through. One thing that helps her stay mentally and physically fit is her love for exercise. The mother of three makes time for a two-hour workout session every morning and mixes it up with boot camp, cycling or the gym. “If I don’t work out, my kids immediately know I’m not well,” she says with a laugh.

(Image: Beyond the Boardroom/Jatin Kampani, Jaideep Chowdhury)
Neerja Birla, Founder, mPower Neerja Birla, founder of mPower, hasn’t been shy about talking about the mental health struggles she has been through. One thing that helps her stay mentally and physic..
Read More
Prashant Ruia, Director, Essar Global

Prashant Ruia, director, Essar Global, is a man of many passions and looks at the land and sea as ways to keep fit. Ruia loves the spiritual side of yoga, the thrill of diving, the adrenaline of skiing and, of course, cricket. And thankfully, his love of sports balances out his other big love: South Indian food.

(Image: Beyond the Boardroom/Jatin Kampani, Jaideep Chowdhury)
Prashant Ruia, Director, Essar Global Prashant Ruia, director, Essar Global, is a man of many passions and looks at the land and sea as ways to keep fit. Ruia loves the spiritual side of yoga, the t..
Read More

ADVERTISEMENT
Download
The Economic Times Business News App
for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.
READ MORE
ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE:

LOGIN & CLAIM

50 TIMESPOINTS

More from our Partners

Loading next story
Text Size:AAA
Success
This article has been saved

*

+