She’s a Vogue Warrior, a Queer Affirmative Practitioner and above all someone who does not shy away from sharing her lived experiences. Aanchal stands for a lot – courage, wisdom and a facilitator of change! She’s definitely helping pave the way for women in mental health!
Aanchal Narang queer affirmative therapist, trainer specializes in working with gender ,sexuality trauma and addiction. Has trained over 100 mental health professionals in queer affirmative counselling practices. Works with multiple NGOs for intervention planning & raising funds.
How have you seen the mental health climate evolve in Mumbai/ India?
So well I have seen the mental health climate evolve in India especially during the COVID where a lot of people are concentrating on mental health but it has slowly picked up in the last i think 4 to 5 years, people seem to be more aware about mental health.
How do you stay motivated every day?
What motivates me everyday is to be able to make a difference bigger than myself, to keep working.
How do you engage in self-care?
I engage in self care even when I’m driving, well i can’t drive right now so talking, spending time with people doing things I like, like you know, playing video games talking to people, dancing, exercise, planning my future business gives me calmness so i do that.
What concerns do you feel are unique to women’s mental health in India? And How do you think they can go ahead and take care of it?
The unique concerns for women in India firstly is the fact that the whole stress of the entire superwoman syndrome where they try to take on way more than they can do, the fact that they can’t say no, and how their lives are supposed to revolve around everyone else’s lives so most of the times women are supposedly – their nature- the definition of being a good woman is probably being co-dependent and exhausting herself, discrimination, harassment often lead to trauma. Also most women also have trauma that they carry around with men, stress, the entire idea of being a perfect way is so much with them or they have to put on a farce self which again would lead to depression and anxiety. Those are some of the stressors to women in India. Also, the idea that the Indian woman is supposed to be perfect and capable of doing everything – I think that in itself leads to a lot of mental health related stress and issues
How can women better support other women?
Women can take care one– by realising that they’re not like superhuman, and the ability that they should prioritise what they need and only do that, they need to be able to say no without feeling guilt, these would be some of the starting steps. Women can support other women in the simple fact by talking and supporting them, NOT blaming women for their, not expecting women to be a particular way, especially to be able to serve anyone else.
What do you think the future of Mental Health in India looks like?
I think the future of mental health in India is [unclear] because it’s hardly actually picked up and now it’s picking up with the level of awareness but I also do feel like people will realise inside India they would need a lot of mental health cuz the sheer drama and [unclear] that are in this country are a lot.And that would also obviously lead to a lot of mental health concerns right now also but people aren’t aware of them.And as they start to get aware of them, and more people access help , and on the other hand disenchantment that there are only a few of these who can actually afford it