What's Your Story: Conversation on Mental Health

What’s Your Story? A Conversation on Mental Health

ZOOM Virtual Event

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It’s up to us to reduce this stigma by having an open discussion, to normalize the idea of seeking support for themselves and loved ones

About this Event


Varun Gandhi, Ph.D.


Raghu Appassani, MD

Shamini Jain, Ph.D.

Vaidehi Gajjar

Vikas P. Srivastava


You’re depressed – “He must be a loser!”

Judgement is a fierce and swift sword that cuts the unfathomable out of society.

In fear of judgement, we are forced to suppress it and to turn our inner eyes away from the conflict. This saves us from facing societal wrath that ranges from isolation to “They’ve gone mad!” This is not okay – someone who’s already depressed doesn’t have the capacity to fight these labels.

Surveys of people living in larger cities in India have shown that 47% people who are relatively more aware of mental illnesses but show stigma by judging to the extreme, 26% are fearful of people with mental illness calling them a ‘retard’, believing that people with mental illness are prone to violence, and should be excluded from society. Only 27% people show support of those with mental illness and are compassionate towards them.

My contention to you is why do we have to shun something we haven’t experienced before or that we are unfamiliar with? The perceptions surrounding mental illness, psychologists, and counseling have desensitized people towards mental illnesses.

Now it’s up to us to reduce this stigma by having an open discussion. It’s up to us to normalize the idea of seeking support for themselves and reaching out to their loved ones to support them. It’s up to us to educate and make people aware of the role of mental health in our overall well-being.

Please join me in this effort and continue this important conversation so we can reach out to more people and support them in their journeys.


Raghu Appasani, MD is a Psychiatrist, Neuroscientist, Mental Health Advocate, and Social Entrepreneur focused on bridging the gap between western and eastern practices to create a wholesome society. He is the Founder & CEO of The MINDS Foundation, an organization bringing proper mental health resources back into the hands of those in the most vulnerable regions of the world.

Shamini Jain, PhD, is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI), a collaborative accelerator of scientists, healers, artists, and educators to help lead humanity to heal themselves and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego. Shamini integrates her background in clinical psychology, psychoneuroimmunology, healing arts, vocal performance and East Indian spiritual practice to share with others how they can best heal themselves and live joyful, meaningful lives.

Vaidehi Gajjar is a South Carolina based writer, editor, and mental health advocate whose day job is in hospital administration. She is a staff writer and the editor of Health and Human Rights at Brown Girl Magazine and is heavily involved in South Asian mental health through various organizations such as WE ARE SAATH where she serves as Director of Creative Content & Design; the PFA Institute where she serves on the Board of Directors; and Circuit Sehat where she serves on the Board of Advisors promoting health, wellness and safety on the South Asian dance circuit.

Vikas P. Srivastava holds a M.A. from Harvard in Education and a B.A. in Sociology from UC San Diego.  He currently serves as Director of Mindfulness at Legacy Early College in Greenville, South Carolina (USA). His role includes defining culture, developing curriculum and building collaborations to support schoolwide integration of Mindfulness, Social Emotional Literacy, Restorative Practices and Trauma Sensitivity. His professional work and personal path is greatly influenced by Vedic Philosophy, Hindu mythology, Vipassana, the Medicine Wheel, open spirituality, music improvisation and nature as the metaphor of truth.

In collaboration with:

Consciousness and Healing Initiative

The MINDS Foundation

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