I have always had the urge to be helpful and empower those around me, be it helping my peers with notes or attending food drives on weekends. When covid happened, I was compelled to stay in my house 24 hours a day. This took a huge toll on my mental health.
Every time I opened my phone, I saw cries for help for oxygen and beds, and the healthcare system collapsing. Eventually, I recognised that there were so many affected just like me. Just like our healthcare system was collapsing, so was our collective mental health. So how could I help people by sitting at home?
My question was answered when I saw an ad for the first responder program by Praan Foundation on Instagram. I applied to it and in a few days I was selected and trained on how to provide people with ‘Emotional First Aid’. Volunteering with Praan, reignited the spark in me to help others. I felt empowered and armed with a set of skills and an earnest desire to help people.
It was the pandemic that forced us to go into ‘survival mode’ for some time. We wanted to feel safe and hopeful but ended up feeling lonely and miserable. Praan’s training enabled me to reconnect with my community and provide support to the people around me. This led to rediscovering friendships, educating people on the importance of mental health, helping people establish a healthy support system and re-introducing myself to self-care. In the end, it was helping others and volunteering that helped me better my own mental health.