Mumbai graduates invite suicide survivors to share their stories on Instagram

Oct 28, 2018, 07:32 IST | Prutha Bhosle

City-based trio of fresh graduates invites suicide survivors to share their stories on Instagram

Mumbai graduates invite suicide survivors to share their stories on Instagram
Shrishti Chouha

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report, released earlier this month (based on 2015-16 National Mental Health Survey), citing at least 6.5 percent of the Indian population suffering from serious forms of mental illness, has sent shockwaves across the country, with no discernible rural-urban differences. Mental health concerns remain some of the most misunderstood conditions in our times. In a flipside of the Netflix's popular series — 13 Reasons Why — tackling the pressing issue, three fresh graduates from the city have opened up a platform for survivors who choose to live a fruitful life instead.

The 21-year-olds, all former HR College students, have formed an Instagram page — Sleepless Musings — a family that has only grown in these past few weeks so that nobody suffers the fate of bizwoman Kate Spade or celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. Shrishti Chouhan, who now works as the design executive at a luxury e-commerce firm and is behind the interactive illustrations on the page, says, "Initially, the concept of the page was to share one's deepest late-night thoughts. This evolved into a number of series on topics relevant today, with the recent one being on depression and suicide."

Aashna Bhatia
Aashna Bhatia

While Aashna Bhatia, who is currently pursuing MSc in gender media and culture from the London School of Economics, is the face behind the page's gripping content, Karan Hingorani handles the photography and social media marketing units. Bhatia says, "The celebrity suicides got us thinking about the ways in which we could make a difference to those who feel they are alone in this. We believe that even if it feels like the whole world is crashing down on you, we should find a reason to put a brave face on and kick depression's butt instead. This is exactly why the Instagram page was rolled out for everyone who would like to share their worries with us."

Getting people to talk, however, has been a challenge admits Hingorani. "It is still a subject people wince about. So, when we approached people, a lot of people were willing to share their harrowing tales, but none wanted to reveal names. With time while some remained anonymous, others were okay with being pictured or speak on camera."

Food blogger Manasvi Bhatia is among those who agreed to speak with a two-minute long video. The 24-year-old in the video discusses how an 11-year-long relationship broke her faith in love. There seemed to be no closure to pain for her. But, she learned her lesson, stood up for herself with the support of her family and friends who were available to listen to her, even at 2 am. She says, "It is time that we invest in ourselves, because we are all important and so is our life."

Karan Hingorani are actively looking for suicide warriors
Karan Hingorani are actively looking for suicide warriors

Discussing her fight with depression brought in endless support on social media. Talking about her story of heartbreak and struggle, she shares, "Since I started writing about what I faced and how I battled mental illness, I have connected with lots of people who relate to my struggle. I consider them a part of my tribe, and it is growing at a fast pace. And that makes me sad because there are many out there who need a shoulder to cry on."

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