Delhi-based initiative Through Thick and Thin addresses issues of mental health

There is no denying that COVID-19 has taken a toll on our mental health.The many months of lockdown meant experiencing intense isolation

author_img Anjani Chadha Published :  18th October 2021 12:31 PM   |   Published :   |  18th October 2021 12:31 PM
TTNT at Oxford bookstore

The community organised a support meet at Oxford Bookstore, Connaught Place

There is no denying that COVID-19 has taken a toll on our mental health. The many months of lockdown meant experiencing intense isolation. Even though the worst days of the pandemic are hopefully behind us, the need to confide in someone from time to time is now routine.

Recognising the healing value of conversations, the Delhi-based initiative Through Thick and Thin (TTNT) fosters a safe space through peer support and community engagement, allowing people to share their emotions.

TTNT has been trying to make mental health services more accessible to people across India. "We noticed a huge gap in the understanding of mental health in a clinical setting and how a layperson looks at it. We wanted to bridge that gap," says Divya Pathak (28), a clinical psychologist and co-founder of TTNT. 

The community has been organising regular support meetings that help create a safe channel of discussion on myriad themes. "A lot of problems can be healed by talking about it. TTNT is a step before counselling. Through activities, we try to create a healthy sanctuary for people to open up [to others]," says Harsheen Vohra (22), co-founder, TTNT.

A useful resource

The community organised their first in-person event in February 2020 at the Kalkaji venue People Places Arts, where about 25 people showed up. Since then, TTNT has been organising meetings on themes like fear, relationships, anxiety, grief, etc.

Every event is designed such that members have a space to discuss their thoughts, while indulging in activities that help build emotional awareness. "I make it a point not to miss any TTNT session. The atmosphere is lively and it is a very liberating experience," says South Delhi-based Sameer Nath (24), a regular participant of TTNT meetings. 

Since the first lockdown in March 2020, the team has adopted a hybrid model wherein they conduct regular online events along with offline get-togethers, whenever possible. Online sessions have helped them expand their reach on a pan-India level, with people across age groups participating in the events.

The team has also built a network of mental health professionals. "If we feel that a participant requires medical care, we refer them to a certified practitioner from our network. We also help them navigate through possible options," Pathak says. 

A helping hand

"Through this initiative, we wanted to create a space for discussion on seemingly petty issues such as road rage and everyday relationship issues. We are trying to draw attention to concerns that are hardly talked about, but hamper one's mental health," mentions Pathak. 

The community regularly partners with other youth initiatives like GirlUp, a global leadership development programme, to engage more people. "We wanted to build a safe, conducive environment that is free of any judgments. Every event promotes a culture where participants can hear, help, and learn from each other," concludes Vohra.