January: Mental health conversations have gained the much-needed attention and momentum in the last few years in our country. However, the challenges faced by the queer community and its impact on our mental health continue to be side-lined. It is imperative to create awareness and have similar addressal on the mental health issues faced by different marginalised communities. Working on mental health issues for/with the queer community has always been at the helm of The Keshav Suri Foundation’s (KSF) area of work. The foundation has brought forth the mental health challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ communities and has been working to improve it by providing regular counselling sessions and hosting various workshops. Ever since the pandemic hit in 2020, the foundation established free mental health counselling sessions and has counselled thousands of queer folks.
To ensure good mental health prevails within the communities, especially with the third wave of Corona and lockdowns taking place, the foundation announced free nationwide mental health workshops for the communities. The workshops will be navigated by Mr. Deepak Kashyap, who is a renowned mental health and life skills trainer, with an extensive experience in corporate wellness and diversity and inclusion initiatives. He has been providing emotional and mental health services in person and online for over 10 years. His work has impacted thousands across the globe, and is now onboard for the mental health workshops with The Keshav Suri Foundation starting from 29th January to March. The workshops will be conducted in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Chandigarh; and several folks have registered across cities for the same.
Excited about the impending workshops, Mr Deepak Kashyap said, “We are conducting these mental health workshops primarily to understand and ascertain the mental and health needs of the queer community in India and see what knowledge, skills and tools we need to address those needs. The emotional wellbeing of the queer community has been ignored for a long time now, and the pandemic has proved how much and how urgently do we need to pay attention to them. Please come join us in this endeavour of compassion and care.”
Organisations are beginning to accept folks from LGBTQIA+ communities in the workplace, but we are far from providing a level playing field. Queer communities still face a lot of discrimination because of the homophobic attitude, name calling, bullying, slurs, all of which have a deep negative impact on our mental health and psyche. The foundation is also running a social media campaign on their page against name calling to build awareness and support for the community.
“I can never over emphasize on the importance of mental health issues faced by the queer community. The journey of self-acceptance is long and hard enough, and it becomes even harder when we, queer folks, have to face bullying or have to deal with isolation. We are taking this initiative to help the community, emerge stronger, self-reliant and stay positive in these harsh times,” said Mr Keshav Suri, founder of the Keshav Suri Foundation.