Piyali Paul is currently pursuing M.Sc in Clinical Psychology from NSHM Knowledge campus Durgapur. Before that, she has completed B.Sc (Psychology Hons) from Victoria Institution College affiliated with the University of Calcutta. She specializes in graphology and art therapy and is a life member of the Indian School Psychology Association and The Indian Science Congress Association. We interviewed her to understand the perspective of a budding psychologist in the field of mental health. 

WE: What made you choose psychology as a subject to specialise in.

PP: I took psychology as my major course at the graduate level in college. I found myself completely fascinated with the topics along with the theories & the concepts. Furtherly, I’ve pursued my post-graduation and continuing to travel into my career, the more fascinating the human mind continues to get. I’ve always been a “helper” type, so my typical answer has always been “to help people overcome their inner demons & let them know that their lives are worth living.” 

  • I have dreams of becoming a Clinical Psychologist and helping people throughout my life along with a huge passion for Psychometric assessment. 
  • I want to start my non-profit organization that aids young adults who grew up in foster care. I want to help people in their transformation towards becoming unconditionally loving, tolerant, and compassionate.
  • The thought of being able to connect and help a child grow both academically and socially is the greatest reward I could ever receive. 
  • My goal is to make something of myself. I found myself going above and beyond the curriculum purely out of curiosity.

WE: Why do you think it is important to educate youth on the importance of mental health?

PP: Education about mental health should start at an early age. Because children spend so much of their daily life at school, therefore imparting education about mental health n schools has become a necessity. Adolescence (10-19 years) is a unique and formative time. Multiple physical, emotional and social changes, including exposure to poverty, abuse, or violence, can make adolescents vulnerable to mental health problems. Promoting psychological well-being and protecting adolescents from adverse experiences and risk factors that may impact their potential to thrive is critical for their well-being during adolescence and for their physical and mental health in adulthood. Multiple factors determine mental health outcomes. The more risk factors adolescents are exposed to, the greater the potential impact on their mental health. 

WE: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

PP: In the next 5-10 years, I want to see myself as an eminent research scholar which is my childhood dream. I am a person of simple needs. I have never stopped feeding my insatiable hunger for learning. I want to continue learning while I am performing as a mental health professional. I have always set my priorities in life. Today I can say that those priorities have helped me achieve various things. Those decisions have rewarded me with the opportunity that I already achieved. It is almost certain that I have set up priorities for the upcoming years. I want to attain new heights in my career whilst taking forward the goal to pursue my PhD. I need to synchronize my targets. The five years that lie ahead can be marked with milestones of progress and I am sure the years will be mutually progressive for me. I hope I hit the target I have aimed for.

WE: What difference do you want to make in the area of mental health in India?

PP: Since grade 4 we have been studying that India is an agricultural country. The majority of the population did not get the opportunity to join a school, and maybe a huge portion of these individuals are just primarily educated. This situation poses a huge obstacle in the way of spreading awareness regarding mental health. In my opinion, children need to be made aware of mental health from an early age and should be trained to spread their knowledge to their surroundings as well, that would include their parents, relatives, and other immediate members of their surroundings. Also, I would like to make people aware of the various mental health care programs that are already present in our country but due to sheer ignorance and misconceptions, common people are not getting the benefit. Moreover, mental health care should be a primary health need.

I think mental health, not just treating it but even talking about it is a great taboo in India. Here, in India, it is still thought to be very uncomfortable or socially unacceptable to go for therapies or even talk about once mental health-related problems. I would like to make people aware and educate them on the importance of maintaining proper mental health and how it can make a person more comfortable or successful or even help the person in knowing his own self and overcoming problems and achieve success in every sphere of life; be it personal or professional.

WE: Share with us some of your likes, dislikes and how you like to spend your free time.

PP: I like when people have the right perspective about their life. A person with the right perspective of life acts as an asset to help others for their better well-being. I like to spend time with my close friends. Such friends are a blessing who are always there to give their back. I dislike dishonesty and indifferent people who don’t care about others. Some individuals become lucky and, in some way, reach the top of achieving something like being rich. However, it is disappointing when those people do not remember others who don’t match their level and also want to be pulled up. Being proud of own success is not bad, but it becomes a problem when pride takes over a kind and caring heart. In my leisure time, I mostly like to read poetry, novels, scientific fictional books. I have a passion for photography so in the free time I nurture this skill. I like to utilise my leisure time and enjoy very much what I do. Reading books is the most prudent investment of leisure time and I learn many things from reading. 

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