BENGALURU: On the last Saturday of every month, a diverse group of men and women between the ages of 17 and 60-plus gather at Medico Pastoral Association (MPA) in Frazer Town to discuss their struggles in battling depression. Five months ago, when these sessions first began, it had only five participants or less. But within a short span, the number has quickly risen to 20 attendees.
Priyanka Tajpuriya, who is behind the depression support group, went through her own struggles in life, which prompted her to start group therapy for others. According to the software engineer, therapy is not popular in India, and Bengaluru in particular. “We encourage people to talk about their issues and even go down memory lane to recall any childhood incidents of trauma.
There are a few thoughts that linger on in the minds of those suffering from depression. They are lonely because they feel that nobody cares for them and no one, but themselves, understand what they are going through. Group therapy helps them feel they are not alone,” says Priyanka, founder of Happiness Studio, which uses art to help people get over depression, and a software engineer at Infosys.
The sessions, done in collaboration with SAHAI, a suicide helpline, are mediated by psychologists, psychiatrists or counsellors, who ensure to get the participants talking. Issues such as anger management, suicidal thoughts, family matters, college issues and professional problems tumble out during the sessions. While some open up immediately, others take time to share their thoughts and stories. At the end of the two to two-and-a-half hour sessions, Priyanka says the aim is to encourage the depressed to open up, which she finds they do.
This is not to be confused with a form of counselling, instead, it is meant to help the participants meet others facing similar issues and come up with coping mechanisms. “There is no general thumb rule, but those who participate are encouraged by the success stories of others,” Priyanka adds.
The next session will take place on September 29 from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm, at #47, MPA office, Pottery Road, Frazer Town.