19 Mumbai schools join the mental health movement at ‘The Happy Place’

Aditya Birla World Academy and Mpower co-host a 2-day inter-school festival

Mumbai, October 13, 2018: Mpower of the Aditya Birla Education Trust, a champion and pioneer of mental health and Aditya Birla World Academy co-hosted the second edition of India’s first student-led inter-school mental health festival called ‘The Happy Place’ where young students came together to explore and share their understanding of mental health in our society, in their own unique way.

The Aditya Birla World Academy hosted 19 schools in Mumbai including students from Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Cathedral and John Connon School, JB Petite High School for girls, Hill Spring International, St Xavier’s, DY Patil- Nerul and HR College.

In its second edition, ‘The Happy Place’ witnessed popular Bollywood actor, Karisma Kapoor grace the occasion and become a champion of mental health. Addressing the students, she said, “I am honoured to be here and be part of this cause which is so important today. ”.

This year ‘The Happy Place’ also saw over 200 young participants coming together to talk about mental health wellness in India through workshops, engaging activities and creative competitions across 2-days over the weekend. Students of various groups across Grades 8-12, brought their unique energy, ideas, talents, and passion, to deeply engage with the topic of mental health through varied academic and artistic media. This included – dance, music, film-making, photography, drama, public speaking and research.

Mental Health is a topic that is more often than not, shrouded in stigma and misconception. This causes the topic to be relegated to the periphery of our collective awareness.
The brainchild of Mrs. Neerja Birla, Mpower endeavours to be the movement to affect change and proactively champion mental health causes, create awareness, advocate prevention and provide services with a professional, holistic and multi-disciplinary approach.

‘The Happy Place’ initiative co-hosted by Mpower was the ideal platform for an alliance of Mumbai’s educational institutions to provide the required stimulus to steer the conversation on mental health in a positive direction. With this unique approach, Mpower and Aditya Birla World Academy aim to pave the way for future change-makers who will propel the mental health revolution forward.

Commenting on this joint initiative, Mrs. Neerja Birla, Founder and Chairperson, Mpower, said, “The Happy Place is an initiative that aims to encourage students to have conversations about Mental Health. Young people have an amazing capacity to champion and promote the things that they believe in. We need to empower them by creating awareness, fostering education and alleviating stigma vis-à-vis mental health. If our youth, the change-makers can subscribe to the simple idea ‘It is okay not to be okay’, then the world will be better place for all of us.”

Mrs. Radhika Sinha, Principal, Aditya Birla World Academy, said, “Mental Health is a stigmatised topic in our country. Over the past few years, we have seen a sudden rise in individuals talking about mental health. The youth can bring about change in this country by carrying forward a thought, to bring about change in this country. At the Happy Place, students from different schools come together & break the stigma wall. All the competitions have been carefully crafted to bring out various themes related to mental health, as well as students’ talents in different fields, such as dance, music, filmmaking, photography, drama, public speaking and research.”

Akanksha Madan, Student at the Aditya Birla World Academy, said, “The Happy Place was a different experience for all of us. Though we come from privileged backgrounds, mental health still is a topic that we don’t openly discuss. It was an amazing way to bring this issue out in such a special way.”

Theobald Krish, Student at the Aditya Birla World Academy, said, “It was an enriching experience. Mental health is a topic people don’t like talking about in the open but ‘The Happy Place’ encourages us young adults to make mental health a topic that is no more stigmatized in the society. It was a both a great opportunity and learning experience for me.”