by Sakshee Jain
In the midst of the scribbling, stretching, and sharing it was easy to determine that all 60 women present at “Women’s Emotional and Mental Health Wellbeing” gained valuable insight into what it meant to be a woman and how to better their lives.
Organized by SEWA International and Arya Samaj the forum comprised of a plethora of successful psychiatrists and psychologists, who shared heartfelt stories and gave meaningful advice to the women about a range of topics including post-pregnancy, depression and anxiety, and just being a positive person.
Sushma Mahajan welcomed the attendees and talked about the programs conducted at the Arya Samaj. Then Meera Kapur introduced Nikhil Jain, who warmly welcomed the panelists to the forum with a note, then continued to elaborate on the causes that SEWA promotes. He highlighted how this event falls under SEWA’s “Family Services” program. The women’s mental health forum included Dr. Renu Thapar, Dr. Christina Treece, Dr. Seema Thekdi and Mrs. Bhawna Luthra, all respective medical professional or therapists.
Dr. Treece opened up the discussion by sharing common illnesses she notices in women post-pregnancy, including the ‘baby blues’, postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. Describing the negative effects of depression during and post pregnancy, Treece urged women to seek support and get adequate nutrition and sleep. She explained that anxiety was common in almost 80% of the women, and if one ever felt hopeless or exhausted they should seek help immediately.
Dr. Thekdi, another panelist, spoke about another frequent mental illness she observes in women in the ages of 30-55. Not solely applicable to this age group, Dr. Thekdi explained that “midlife crises” as well as anxiety greatly affects women. Adding on to Dr. Treece, Dr. Thekdi explained depression and how it can be stemmed from disappointment with life, an existential crisis, or just being the ‘sandwich generation.’
Following her was Dr. Renu Thapar, who discussed solutions to a majority of the mental illness and even the midlife crisis Dr. Thekdi explained. Dr. Thapar’s message included the minimal – at home – activities one could do to just be an overall happy person. She told the audience that they should be positive, or find a positive in every situation, eat right, exercise, and most importantly be open to talking about yourself.
And finally, Mrs. Luthra introduced herself by first asking everyone to stretch their bodies and introduce themselves to the people around them. She then described a case study in which she explained the importance of a strong support system and family. Mrs. Luthra concluded her session by emphasizing the importance of loving people around you, but more importantly, loving yourself. She clarified that the point of her ‘getting to know the people around you’ exercise was to show the audience that you are not alone; there are women exactly like you and know what you are feeling.
After hearing the experts, there was a Q&A session, where the audience could clarify or add something to the discussion. It ranged from their personal experiences and difficulties to just clarifying places they could look for if they needed help. This is where it felt that the group became more intimate. That these women didn’t feel like individuals but truly became a family. At this time it wasn’t hearing about a case study, but empathizing with real people.
Meera Kapur concluded the program with vote of thanks to attendees and presenters. This was followed up with snacks and drinks. This permitted all the audience members to interact with one another and share their stories in an homely setting.
This was the 2nd workshop in this series and it provided women a platform of understanding their role in this extremely fast-paced society as well as how to maintain their societal expectations. It taught them that feeling low is normal, but scouting for guidance, when needed, is even more important. For more information or to volunteer with Sewa, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact (713)834-4909.
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SEWA and Arya Samaj conduct workshop on ‘Women’s emotional and mental health wellbeing ‘
by Sakshee Jain