The Times Network in India has launched #ActNow, an initiative to spread awareness around mental health, normalise conversations around the issue and sensitise people to be responsive to others’ mental health needs.
The campaign takes an outside-in view of the problem and targets the people around a mental health patient to act swiftly. It aims to mirror societal structures and the ignorance, pity, annoyance and utter disbelief a person living with a mental ailment receives from those around them.
Vivek Srivastava, Times Network president of strategy and business head of the news and English entertainment cluster, said: “With the unprecedented disruption caused by the Covid-19, we can see its enormous impact on our lives. The pandemic-induced quarantine and social distancing have forced us to isolation and lack of physical contact, reshaping our relationships with our family, friends and colleagues while working from home. The new normal has triggered anxiety and deepened emotional turmoil, consequently leading to a quieter but concerning rise in the number of people grappling with mental health issues. #ActNow is our endeavour to spread awareness and drive dialogues to break barriers around the mental health issue. Through our multi-faceted campaign, we urge the society at large to look beyond the happy faces that conceal the sufferings and encourage healthy and judgement-free conversations on mental health.”
The #ActNow initiative draws relevance from Times Network’s nationwide research study commissioned to Nielsen India titled, ‘How Urban India Perceives Mental Health’. The study indicates that while awareness levels related to mental health ailments have gone up recently, there is a pressing need to disseminate the factual information to tackle the strong undercurrents of stigma and lack access to quality mental healthcare.