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Decoding Mental Health With Shilpi Kalwani

Shilpi Kalwani talks about how work environment plays a role in challenging our emotional and mental well-being.
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Published -14 Apr 2022, 16:40 ISTUpdated -14 Apr 2022, 16:54 IST
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Shilpi Kilwanitedx shilpi

I was born and brought up in Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh). My journey has been a constant search of moving through different locations to find myself. After completing my schooling, I moved to Pune to pursue my graduation in management from the University of Pune. I completed my post-graduation in management (MBA) from IBS, Hyderabad. I have been a scholarship holder and was awarded the IBSAF award for my academic excellence.

I have worked in the corporate sector as a business analyst with a Fortune 500 company for 2 years. I have also been associated with Coal India Limited and my project on Carbon Credits was awarded by the organization. I have worked with UNICEF as a volunteer and coordinator for a brief period of time. I am a PhD research scholar by qualification and a TEDx speaker (thrice), a columnist and a celebrity tarot card reader by choice.

Exploring Aspects Of Mental Well-Being In A Student's Life

There is a lot of noise around finding your passion and chasing success. I think it kind of confuses every student in their teenage and their individuality is lost. I went through a similar phase of self-doubt, confusion, body image and mental health issues. It is very important to filter out these noises and figure out something that works out the best for you. There is no definite rule or formula, but you have to customize and create your own path as per your ability and skill set. 

My school and the environment motivated students to either opt for science or mathematics. Going with the flow, I opted for science as an elective. Studying science for two years made me realize that I was interested to explore the domain of management. I changed my stream and opted for a degree in management. During my graduation, I was passionate about finance. To understand the art of handling my personal finances better, I opted for finance as an elective.

I continued exploring and understanding stock markets and the banking sector during my MBA. Only after working for a considerable time in the finance and investment sector, I have developed empathy towards sensitive subjects like human psychology and mental health. This was a turning point. I started learning and exploring through various certification programmes and internships in this area.

Later on, I found my calling and moved towards research on employee wellbeing and mental health through the PhD programme. I am moving towards the bigger purpose of creating and propagating a ‘conscious living’ lifestyle in our lives. My aim is to remove the stigma around mental health and create more awareness of it.

shilpi kilwani tedx

Relation Bteween Mental Health And Work Environment

During my work experience at various corporate houses, I saw a lot of colleagues and friends silently suffering from mental health issues and then quietly resigning from the job. Since I was fortunate enough to be a part of their inner circle, I knew they were suffering. There are almost no to negligible provisions at academic institutions or organizations to provide help to someone suffering from a mental health ailment.

There is so much stigma around mental health that the person suffering from it gets uncomfortable speaking about it. This motivated me to work in the direction of mental health. To educate myself on the sensitivity and technical knowledge regarding the subject, I opted for a PhD programme on employee mental health and wellbeing. During the programme, I was fortunate enough to collaborate with YMHFA (Youth Mental Health First Aid) Australia to act as a mental health first-aider and advocate for the cause. 

Work environments are being constantly challenged by the complexities of human emotions and needs. It is very important to choose environments that are conducive to your growth. It is very important to understand the value system of the organization and its people before becoming a part of any institution. It is very common for unique and innovative talents to fall prey to work politics and unprofessionalism at workplaces.

So a lot of thought has to go in before making the choice. To deal with discouraging elements, it is important to detach yourself from any such conversations or people. Constructive criticism is good, but when you feel somebody is constantly trying to let you down and does not have good intentions towards you, detach. It is none of your business to change people, you have to be mindful of the people you invest in.

My family has been my strongest motivation and support in life. They are my biggest cheerleaders. They have always taught me to hold my ground and never give in to any kind of discrimination or unfair practices. It is important to have a support system around you that can guide, support and motivate you through tough times. I am glad to have that support system in the form of my parents and my younger brother.

Write: Shilpi Kalwani
 
(The author is a Motivational Speaker, TEDx Speaker, Research Scholar and Columnist at Dainik Jagran INEXT. She is pursuing PhD from BITS Pilani in Management. Her work experience includes expertise in strategic decision making, human resources, communication and branding and recruitment.)

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