TEDx speaker and Psychologist reveals how psycho-social challenges impacts women’s mental wellness

Team Udayavani, Mar 8, 2021, 1:05 PM IST

One fine day early morning, a couple of photos had been received on my mobile WhatsApp! When I checked the photos, a lady had sent her pictures where she was appearing as she had met with an accident! Swollen eyes, red marks on the chin, broken lips, blackened calf muscles, battered hands, etc. Since it had come from an unknown number I kept quiet. Because I had no clue from where had it come, why it had come, whose pictures were they!

After a while, I received a message from the same number saying, “Hi Sir, I need to talk to you about something very urgent!”. Naturally, I was a bit worried because I could guess something serious is happening in somebody’s life! When I spoke to her, the story had nothing to do with an accident! But with domestic violence. The husband and the in-laws would have burnt her alive if she had not run away from the place in the early hours, somewhere around 3 AM! When she resisted, this young mother was thrown out of the house in the early hours of the day!

This didn’t happen in a backward, remote place where people are uneducated! But in a well-educated family in a town! Later when she approached the police as well, she didn’t get a very positive response from them! Of course, COVID fear was still around and police took the shelter of that for not arresting the husband and his parents! Not just that, she didn’t know whom else to connect with and where to get justice!

This is one of such incidents where so many women are still being victimized for many reasons, not just at home, but also at workplaces and other social circumstances!

When a woman goes through these psycho-social challenges in her life, it impacts her mental wellness in multiple ways! A lot of girl children go through discrimination from their childhood itself that makes them feel inferior. This mindset itself prevents many of them from exploring the possibilities! Because of that, they would not attempt something new or something that they really want to do, because of the self and society imposed restrictions! Many women go through issues like self-doubt, low confidence, and self-blaming, etc. which impacts their mental makeup!

Many parents also would be in a hurry to get their daughters married because they presume that the daughters are a burden for them. When the daughter is not in a position to be assertive and speak out her mind, she would agree to the marriage even when she is not ready for it! In the new environment in the conjugal family, she will have new challenges to face! She has to adapt herself to the family norms, meet the expectations of the husband, in-laws, and other family members! When their aspirations were nipped in the bud in the name of ‘marriage’ and ‘settling down’ and also to ‘get rid of the responsibilities’, such women go through irritability, anger issues, envy, and other emotional turbulences! They later end up imposing their aspirations on their kids!

Even though these issues appear very common, people don’t realize that they impact the mental health of a person in a significant way! People think that anger, frustration, irritation, and so on in women are biological! But they are social too!

Abuse is another major trauma that women go through! It is not just physical or sexual abuse, but verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect!
Many families don’t even consider the views of women in the family, whereas studies have said that women are very good decision-makers, and their involvement in the decision-making processes makes them more effective and efficient! Any form of abuse is not acceptable and hence one will have to fight back against such challenges. Otherwise one will continue to experience abuse! The foundational principle one has to follow to counter the abuse is to be assertive. When women do that, a lot of abuse would reduce! As a society, we have to build that inner strength in women so that they get empowered.

A lady officer in a government department shared that she is extremely stressed, not able to sleep properly, there is a lot of fatigue in the body and lethargy in the mind! As she was elaborating on her problems, she said neither her husband nor her son were empathetic to her or helped her in managing any of the household chores. That had led to the feeling of being dejected, not valued, and sadness! Despite being an officer who had power at the office, she had remained powerless at home!

Most of the women in Indian society have forgotten to give time for themselves! They spend most of their time for their loved ones! When I ask them how long do you give time for themselves, they start searching in their daily routines, if at all they are giving time for themselves! If a person doesn’t have time at all to relax, reflect or rejuvenate, and still so much is expected from her, then certainly it would be difficult for her to manage her mental health.

Through Mano Samvaada, women from different walks of life have got their issues resolved, be it relationship issues, challenges in parenting, decision making at work front or family front, dealing with issues that are created because they are single women, and so on. Mental health issues among women range from complaints like irritability, frustration, sleeplessness, anger issues, mood swings, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, trauma experiences, and so on. However, these issues are generally neglected or ignored! Many women end up suffering from many such mental health issues which impact their life in a very severe way.

When we see the life of a woman, we see so many challenges in her life! This year, the women have decided to “choose to challenge”. When they challenge the challenges that they face in their lives, which is like thesis versus anti-thesis, a new solution can synthesize.

More power to women.

Happy Women’s Day.


Akshara Damle

Founder of Manosamvaada, Psychologist, TEDx speaker 

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