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Social Entrepreneur-ism in Mental Health – E-Cell NIT Hamirpur

On April 24th, 2021, the E-Cell of NIT, Hamirpur conducted an interactive webinar with Mr Nilay Jayswal, the co-founder of the Zuv Foundation and a TEDx speaker on the topic "Social Entrepreneur-ism in Mental Health". The webinar began with the host introducing Mr Nilay as a successful social entrepreneur, a TEDx speaker, a Padma Shri nominee, and a student of IIM, Kozhikode. Mr. Nilay then stated that during the webinar, they will emphasise "What is Social Entrepreneurship," "What is Mental Health," and "Which organisations are working to improve mental health."


Mr Nilay introduced social entrepreneurship as a field of entrepreneurship that lacks investment returns in the form of revenue generation. Entrepreneurship is frequently associated with an idea or a business strategy worth millions or billions of dollars, but social entrepreneurship helps to make a difference in people's lives rather than generate revenue. He continued to say that social entrepreneurship is not a profession but a movement, a contribution, or an initiative towards the betterment of society by providing them with essential development.


Organizations work relentlessly and selflessly to fight against the evil causes prevailing in a society like poverty, malnutrition, abuse, violence, etc. Then CSE (Corporate Social Entrepreneurship) comes into the picture, which might be or might not be similar to CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). In comparison to CSR, CSE covers the wider issues prevailing in society. In addition, Mr Nilay claimed that social entrepreneurs frequently face opposition from a variety of sources in their efforts to make a difference.


Coming to the concept of mental health, Mr Nilay described it as a state of psychological well-being where one can enjoy life to its fullest with a perfect balance of professional and personal life. He defined depression and anxiety and explained their relevance in the existing scenario of the pandemic. He mentioned various symptoms for each of them.


For example, depression includes symptoms like low confidence, low interest, low enthusiasm, low appetite, and one might get suicidal thoughts, whereas anxiety is accompanied by low concentration, high irritability, sweaty hands, and frightening experiences from the smallest things around us. He also put up some shocking facts regarding the reach of mental health in India, which stated that around 1% of the health budget is all that is spent on mental health. He also mentioned the existence and relevance of mental health in the workplace.


Moving on, Mr Nilay mentioned the concept of social entrepreneurship in mental health and explained this via the example of the initiative of the Zuv Foundation named "Kahaani" which strives to provide basic mental care and assistance to the survivors of heinous crimes like rapes, harassment, abuse, violence, etc. He then talked about two major organisations that have been excellently working on mental health in society. The first is Minds, which provides a three-phase solution that includes the first phase of talking and educating about mental health, the second phase of going to treatment requiring medications for free, and the third phase of integration and acceptance into society.


The second organisation is Scraf, which provides free housing, boarding, and rehabilitation facilities to people fighting mental illness. Mr Nilay then quoted a famous quote by Barack Obama which states, "The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will not only fill the world with hope, but you will fill yourself with hope."


The session came to an end with Mr Nilay taking up the questions from the audience regarding some tips to deal with people suffering from mental health issues, how to cope with the challenges of mental health in contemporary times, and some tips for aspiring social entrepreneurs.