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Aditya Birla Education Trust, Aditya Birla World Academy co-host third mental health festival ‘The Happy Place’

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The initiative is ideal platform for an alliance of Mumbai’s educational institutions to provide required stimulus to steer conversation on mental health in positive direction

Mpower of the Aditya Birla Education Trust and Aditya Birla World Academy co-hosted the third edition of 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 17 schools in Mumbai including students from Nahar International School, Cathedral and John Connon School, JB Petit High School for Girls, Hill Spring International, St Xavier’s, DY Patil- Nerul and JBCN International School, Oshiwara

In its third edition, ‘The Happy Place’ witnessed Bollywood singer,  Armaan Mallik grace the occasion and become a champion of mental health. Addressing the students, he said,  “I am delighted to be here and it looks like a very happy place! I’d like to congratulate all the students and teams who took part in this wonderful initiative on the occasion of World Mental Health Week. Mental health is a very important issue amongst teenagers and young adults. Today, social media is a very big influence in youngster’s life as it makes other people’s lives look better than they actually are. The grass always seems greener on the other side and sometimes gives birth to some complexity amongst individuals and impressionable youngsters. It is important for you all to focus on yourself, take care of yourself and not let social media impact you to such a degree. I’m so happy to see Mpower leading this beautiful initiative and championing a very important cause. I would like to end by saying that you all should just focus on yourself and your mental well-being.”

Commenting on this joint initiative, Neerja Birla, Founder and  Chairperson, Aditya Birla Education Trust,  said,  “It is critical that we start young and sensitise children at a younger age about various aspects associated with mental health. To address this critical need, we began The Happy Place, three years ago and since then we have seen a positive change in the perception of children about mental well-being. The Happy Place marks India’s first student-led mental health festival that encourages students to explore and share their understanding of mental health through specially curated activities and competitions like dance, music, photography, debates, drama that bring our various issues under mental health. Through the festival, they are more involved and aware about mental health and are ready to champion the cause. We hope to create young leaders of tomorrow who are aware about their surroundings and help encourage others to speak up when they need help.”

Every year, ‘The Happy Place’ sees enthusiastic young students indulge in conversations around mental health, to talk about mental health wellness in India through workshops, engaging activities and creative competitions across two-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.

‘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.

Radhika Sinha, Principal, Aditya Birla World Academy,  said,  “Every  now and then, it is important to  reaffirm  to oneself: I am in charge of how I feel and  today  I choose happiness. The effect of this reaffirmation never fails! It  generates  a strong sense of well-being. The  vibes  you exude affect those around you. And  that  is the beginning of building communities and safe spaces.”

Manya Bajaj, a student from the Aditya Birla World Academy who actively participated in The Happy Place, said, “We all had topics that were very serious in nature. However, we couldn’t believe that we could address mental health issues in a fun way. Being a part of the core team, it was only when I started working on the fest that I realised that how important it is to at least have a conversation about mental health issues. I am glad that through The Happy Place, we were at least able to sow the seeds of a dialogue.”

Akshat Jain, a student from the Aditya Birla World Academy who actively participated in The Happy Place, said, “I participated in the street play competition and our topic was PTSD. It was such a sensitive topic to handle. But I am grateful that my team could showcase our talents not just our acting skills but our sensibilities about mental health issues without any stigma attached to it. After all we want a safe space and a safe community for each one of us here.”

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