MADHYA PRADESH: Uma Lakshmi, a young postgraduate in social sciences from Kerala, and Mangalam Mishra, a young BTech student from Bihar, had one thing in common: both were having sleepless nights owing to acute depression over their uncertain academic and professional future in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Both of them, separately, found an online platform www.centre4cm.org in August which not only offered help in finding solutions to their problems but also counselled them to get out of the acute depression. The two are now a part of volunteers spread across the country who help youngsters and working professionals to address their mental problems caused by the pandemic.
“I completed my PG from a premier institute in Mumbai but was getting placement offers only in north India. I wanted to work and enhance my skills in my place in Kerala. But the pandemic changed everything, and instead of getting my preferred job, I remained unemployed,” says Uma. Her family soon started blaming her for everything which happened to her.
“All this put me under acute depression and I lost my sleep, prompting me to contact the online Centre for Conflict Management (CCM) platform,” she says. In the next few days, a response from CCM changed her.
“I was encouraged to use the platform to help 10-12 others like me,” says Uma. Mangalam Mishra, too, has become a CCM volunteer and has helped over 40 college mates and other youngsters in beating stress in the troubled Covid times.
“The CCM gave me a six-line solution, guiding me to put myself first in the happiness bracket before making others happy. I’m not only happy with myself and have left stress and depression miles behind,” says Mangalam.
The Centre for Conflict Management is not a group of psychologists; it is a network of 18 resource persons (top faculties and psychologists of management institutes spread across the country) and 1,200-plus young volunteers who are being mentored and guided by Indian Institute of Management (IIM-Indore) Director Prof Himanshu Rai.
“During the lockdown, our team at IIMIndore conducted a study of around 600 individuals across the country-- mostly students and young working professionals -- and found that Covid- 19 had hit them both physically and mentally,” says Prof Rai.
“From hitting their diet and their style of living, the pandemic has impacted the intra and interpersonal psyche of people, particularly due to uncertain future and job losses. While the elderly are being looked after by their families, the young ones find the situation very grim,” says Prof Rai.
“This was what galvanized us to start the online platform in the Covid era.” Prof Rai is mentoring a team of 18 other internal resource persons (faculties and psychologists at premier management institutes, including IIM-Indore) and 1200 CCM beneficiaries- turned-volunteers, who are working at making youngsters live a stress-free life.
Helping the CCM team are Arunima Sinha (world’s first female amputee to scale the Mount Everest) and senior UP IPS officer Navniet Sekera, who hold special online sessions on the CCM platform to pep up youngsters and help them conquer Covid-induced stress.
“We have so far resolved 1,600-plus conflicts through online solutions and private and public messages to troubled youths in 12 states, including UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, MP, Kerala, initiative. The platform identifies major types of conflicts related to emotions and logic, family strains, workplace anxieties and conflicts in relationships.
The centre claims to have resolved a maximum of 208 conflicts reported from youngsters in UP, followed by 178 in MP, 168 in Rajasthan, 167 in Maharashtra and 145 in Odisha. The CCM story, started in August, is not confined to India alone. Five new international chapters of the unique initiative have been started in the last few days by resource persons known to the CCM’s India team in the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Australia. “The international chapters are the first step in understanding the commonality in youngsters’ problems. It is their inner strength aided by a bit of help from us which has done wonders,” says Prof Rai.
1,600+ conflicts resolved
The Centre for Conflict Management (CCM) platform has resolved over 1,600 conflicts during this period through online solutions and private and public messages to troubled youths in 12 states, including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Delhi.