A to Z of mental health was born during the 2018 edition of 36 days of type, when Shyama V. S., a designer, decided to collaborate with practising psychiatrists lead by Dr. Shilpa to learn about mental health. We have documented the knowledge generated during the process and hope that this project throws light on the topics that are less discussed regarding mental health in India. The letter z was featured by 36 days of Type, on their website and the entire project was picked up and featured in India’s second most circulated English Daily ‘The Hindu. In March 2019, the entire project was part of a solo art exhibition at the Lalit Kala Academy art gallery, Calicut.
The process of making these has helped us grow immensely, we hope it does the same for you.
What made it happen ?
This was pretty much how my inbox looked in April 2018. And to find the aforementioned Z word, I confess to googling ‘Shashi Tharoor Z’ in the hopes of finding something like Exasperating farrago.I spent the good part of April 2018 participating in 36 days of type where my task was to come up with a visual interpretation of letters(A to Z) everyday starting on April 3rd.
Health of all kinds has always been of interest to me and I may or may not be guilty of using graduate medicine textbooks as leisure reading, occasionally, as a kid. The way I looked at mental health has largely evolved because of my sister who couple of years ago packed her bags and went off to study psychiatry at Nimhans. For this edition of 36 days of type, I decided to learn about mental health and document what I learn for others and hope that this process throws light on the topics that are less discussed regarding mental health in India.There was definitely nothing easy about using your spare time to draw, learn and write something consistently for 26 days. I swear these 26 days involved 48 hour power cuts, Macbook playing dead twice, 3 different cities, bare minimum internet (because BSNL meh), a 1 year old who constantly gave me ideas on how biting and screaming is a better communication technique than words and visuals, a 3 month old puppy who provided my laptop charger the support it needed with bite marks, loads of firecrackers, a new year(Vishu) celebration, a wrists-are-on-vacation-because-pain day and all kinds of normal imaginable incidents.
I tried my best to give up on the project every other day because I was often doing more than what I could manage in a day’s time. But I have learned a valuable yet cliched lesson in those 26 days-
if you really really want to get something done, there are ways around your obstacles and if those ways are also closed for the day, there might be some people who give you a ride and sort of act as temporary guardian angels.
Dr. Sheena G Soman was one them who filled in on days when I couldn’t write and helped me keep the project afloat on my first round of hitting a roadblock. I have to thank everyone who helped us find the right words when we thought Yak was a pretty great word for Y. Also those friends of mine who let me haunt their home at midnight hours to use their desktop during desperate times and of course Saurabh Vashistha for stepping in and finishing my Q when internet, electricity and computer took that inconvenient vacation post Vishu.
For me, this project has been proof of how things just work out better when people come together and build things we want to see around us. In the beginning of April, when I started drawing my A and B, I had no idea what I was doing and how this is all going to turn out. But thanks to all the wonderful people who held my hand through it, and all the people who gave me great feedback we made it to Z!
Contributors :Dr Shilpa V. S , Dr Sheena G Soman, Dr. Sajal Sathiadevan, Dr. Surabhi Hiwale, Dr Srinivas Rajkumar, Dr Shipra Somvanshi, Dr Lavanya Sharma, Saurabh Vashishtha
Site Credits: Sruthi Lohithakshan
Hug credits : Sky -the 3 month old puppy, Lian – the 1 year old human.