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Lavanya Bahuguna

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Psychiatrist Anjali Chhabria Talks How Nurturing Parenting Needs Only 20 Minutes

  • IWB Post
  •  January 6, 2018

 

We met psychiatrist Anjali Chhabria during an event organized by Siyahi, where Dr. Chhabria spoke about mental illness and how it could affect our life and relationship without us even realizing. We took this as an opportunity to speak to Dr. Anjali about her personal life and explore her roles as a woman, a daughter, a wife, and a mother.

Life as a Psychiatrist.img_1

I wanted to be a Psychiatrist even before I learned how to spell it. I love dealing with human behavior. It’s been 27 years, and I absolutely love what I do. Every day, I meet 20-30 people and sit in my clinic for about 15 hours without losing an ounce of work motivation. I enjoy getting the best out of people, you see.

There are two kinds of people who come to meet me – one, who have recognized their problem, and the other, who haven’t understood the reason behind their sadness. I consider myself simply a medium to help them explore exactly that.

How my patients help me grow into a better human being.

Along with compassion, a lot of patience is what our profession demands. The other two children characters are non-judgement and an excellent listening ability. When clubbed, these qualities can make you a people’s counselor.img_2
I don’t give them the solutions.

When they come to me and discuss their worries, I don’t jump to conclusions. As a psychiatrist, you are not supposed to do that. My idea is to listen to my clients and ask them what possible solutions they have in mind. Once they give me a list of, say, five answers, I help them pave the path. This goes on until they learn how to tap their inner happiness.

I believe every individual has intelligence that he denies to believe in when in trouble. We seek help outside and go on to consult babas and aghoris. This is sad. Sometimes, all we need is someone to listen to us.img_3
Apart from this, we also use age-old techniques like meditation, group therapies, etc. depending on one’s interest.

Family support.

About 30 years ago, my parents allowed me to pursue my interest. People around us told them not to let their girl become a psychiatrist because the myth was – therapists become kooky psychotic once they start dealing with the patients. *laughs*img_4

After my marriage, my MIL supported me with all her might. I remember how she used to prepare my breakfast so that I could start my day on time. We lost her in 2016, but she continues to be my inspiration.

Being the Mind-Doctor to my kids.

I have always kept my family priorities in mind while practicing psychology. As a new mother, I knew my children needed my physical presence more than their father’s. I never considered them as a hindrance to my career growth. As they grew up and became self-dependent, I bounced back. Both in their twenties, they are achieving new heights every day in their respective fields.

Even though my husband and I are doctors, we never pressurized our kids to study medicine. We let them choose what interests them the most.

Parenting tips.

Become a connected parent. Spend at least twenty minutes with your child without handling any gadget. Give these twenty minutes solely to the kid. Ask him about his day and what activities interested him throughout the day. Talk about his friends and teachers.

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I have a two-year–old child who comes to me for counseling. Shocking, but kids suffer hypertension, too. This particular child was depressed because he has witnessed continuous domestic violence in his house. Another girl attempted suicide by eating pills and told me how she saw that in some Bollywood flick and wanted to try it. Had her parents shared a friendly relationship with her, she would have shared this ‘fantasy to try sweet pills’ with them.

If you think you might know someone who’s suffering from depression, you could maybe try reaching out to these helpline numbers:

1. Sumaitri, Delhi

A crisis intervention centre for the depressed and suicidal, this voluntary organisation in the Indian Capital has been running since 1998. They have served over 1 lakh callers, and the organisation has also assisted and counselled callers from other cities besides Delhi. Write to Sumaitrai at feelingsuicidal@sumaitri.net or call the helpline numbers 011-23389090. The helpline is functional from Monday to Friday between 2pm and 10pm and from 10am to 10pm on weekends.

2. Lifeline Foundation, Kolkata

Founded in 1996, Lifeline Foundation has counselled thousands of people over two decades and remains one of West Bengal’s most well-known helplines for the depressed and desperate. The volunteer-driven initiative aims to contain the suicides rates in Kolkata and moffusil towns and cities, and also supports survivors, families and friends. Call the helpline on +913324637401/7432 or write to reach@lifelinekolkata.org.

3. Kashmir Lifeline, Srinagar

Based in Srinagar, this organisation offers counselling helpline, face-to-face psychotherapy and counselling, outreach services, and education and training services. While their clinic is located in Central Srinagar, the outreach centres are spread across the state, including Shopian, Baramulla and Anantnag. Call the helpline at 18001807020, between 10am and 5pm on all days except Friday and Saturday, or check their Facebook page.

4. Roshni, Hyderabad

Offering a platform for distress and suicide calls, Roshni has been operational in Hyderabad since 1997. From exam-related stress to loneliness, the NGO volunteers listen to callers afflicted with a variety of mental health issues, enabling them to overcome depression and suicidal instincts. The Roshni helpline is operational everyday from 11am to 9pm. Call +914066202000/2001 for help, or email roshnihelp@gmail.com.

5. Maithri, Kochi

Founded with the objective of “befriending the friendless”, Maithri is striving to prevent suicides in Kerala. Based on the idea that conversations—termed ‘ventilating’—can be cathartic for the distressed, Maithri volunteers extend befriending services in person, over phone, and through emails and letters. To visit the office or write a letter, find the address on their website. You can also call 0484 2540530 or email maithrihelp@gmail.com. The office is open from 10am to 7pm every day.

6. Sneha, Chennai

Based in Chennai’s RA Puram, Sneha is a volunteer-run organisation that hopes to lend a helping ear to those suffering from loneliness and depression. The services are free, and Sneha runs on donations and funds generated by their inhouse range of greeting cards. The helpline is +914424640050/60, available 24 hours on all days of the week. You can also email the volunteers at help@snehaindia.com.

7. iCall, Mumbai

A psycho-social helpline located at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, trained counsellors offer support via phone, email and social media. The organisation has used their phone and email data to develop reports and publications (keeping concerns about anonymity in mind) and also maintains directories of mental health services, deaddiction services, police, NGOs and lawyers. The helpline number is +9122 25521111, available between 8am and 10pm from Monday to Saturday. You can email them at icall@tiss.edu or contact via Facebook and Twitter.

8. Jeevan, Jamshedpur

Rising suicides in the Steel City led to the formation of Jeevan Suicide Prevention Helpline in 2006. The volunteers drive the initiative forward, listening to callers from 10am to 6pm on all days. The helpline is aided by local hospitals, town administration and corporate organisations. Those seeking help can visit the office at Bistupur, call 0657-6453841/6555555 or email jeevanjamshedpur@gmail.com.

9. Samaritans Mumbai

Another Mumbai-based organisation that aims to support individuals in emotional distress, Samaritans takes the support of both volunteers and trained counsellors. Founded in 1968, it is also the first branch of The Samaritans, UK, to be established outside England. The organisation was formerly known as Samaritans Bombay and Samaritans Sahara. The Samaritans work out of their office in Dadar; you can also call +91226464 3267/65653267/6565 3247 on all days from 3pm-9pm or send an email to samaritans.helpline@gmail.com.

10. Sahai, Bengaluru

Offering help to depressed and suicidal callers since 2002, this organisation wants everyone to know that help is just a phone call away. In addition to aiding callers over phone, emails and social media, Sahai also conducts mental health sessions and workshops. Call the helpline on +9180 25497777, from Monday to Saturday between 10am and 8pm, or head to their official website for more information.

11. You Matter by COOJ, Goa

An initiative by Goa’s COOJ Mental Health Foundation to contain the rising number of suicides in the state, this organisation is spearheaded by psychiatry experts and helmed by local volunteers to address the calls and concerns of distressed callers. The COOJ Listening helpline is operational between 3pm and 7pm on weekdays (Monday to Friday). Call 08322252525 for help or leave a message for the team on Facebook.

12. Saath, Ahmedabad

This suicide prevention centre counsels those dealing with distress or contemplating an end to their lives, and also provides resources and opportunities to help others in suicide prevention. Working since 1998, the organisation is run by trained volunteers who only undertake reach out to students, terminally-ill patients, army personnel, senior citizens and professional communities. Call them on all days, from 1pm-7pm, on +91 79 26305544/26300222 or email saath12@yahoo.com.

13. Hope Helpline, Kota

Located in Rajasthan, Kota is famous for its education centre just as it is infamous for the student suicides due to stress and lack of support. In 2016, the Hope Helpline, an erstwhile support system for students, was revived by the district administration with help from local coaching centres and Dr ML Agarwal, a local clinical psychologist. The helpline service is available for students across the country, who can speak to volunteers by calling 0724 433 3666.

Photo Courtesy: Chaveesh Nokhwal

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