Wellbeing & Mental HeaLth
Adolescence as a stage of growth and development, both physically and mentally is challenging and largely misunderstood. If anyone had to describe their teenage years, the most common words used will be – rebel, confusion, crush, and excitement. If we as adults had to describe teenagers, we would use the same words as well, the word ‘rebel’. An important stage of development, yet the most misunderstood phase of life, nonetheless.
Any form of transition is difficult for the individuals experiencing it, and distressing in itself due to the instability experienced during the period. While transitioning into adults, the adolescents are required to make many adjustments and learn new skills to cope with the new experiences. A combination of transitional difficulties, violence & abuse, sustained socio-economic difficulties creates a breeding ground for mental health issues.
Our wellbeing projects empower adolescents by building self-awareness and coping skills, sharpening metacognition, and cultivating compassion and hope leading to enhanced wellbeing and motivation to learn.
Read our Adolescent Wellbeing Approach Note to find out more about how we create joyful learning, enable safe spaces, and help our adolescents become hopeful, fearless, and resilient, all against the backdrop of the adolescent wellbeing landscape globally and in India.
1. wellbeing during the pandemic
To support students who were stressed and overwhelmed due to the pandemic, we launched “Take it Eazy” with the support of UNICEF and state governments. Initially launched in Tamil Nadu, we later expanded to Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, and Jharkhand. It was designed as a 30 day project, one story every day. Listening to “Take it Eazy” was easy. Students gave a missed call to a number. An automated call was placed back to their mobile phones and the story of the day was played. These stories and art activities were designed to help students express their emotions, learn new positive habits and build resilience.
2. children in childcare institutions
“vAnam vasappadum” is a Tamil phrase which translates to ‘The sky is ours’. The phrase gives us hope and let’s us believe that the sky’s the limit. Our “vAnam vasappadum” programme aims to create joyful art experiences for children in government-run homes that build their sense of self and wellbeing by means of a trauma-informed expressive arts intervention, so that they can explore new horizons, fathom new depths and carve a niche for themselves in the world. Through this programme, we conduct arts-integrated SEL sessions for over 600 children across 20 homes in Tamil Nadu.
3. wellbeing for tribal children
Together with UNICEF and the Tamil Nadu Government’s SCERT team, we developed an art-based workbook with 30 lessons along with 30 explainer videos that specifically address students’ emotional wellbeing for students in grades 9-12 across the most educationally backward blocks in Tamil Nadu. Upon learning that the pandemic has created severe stress and anxiety for teachers too, we also developed a workbook supporting videos for teachers to deal with their wellness.