WE: Tell us a bit about yourself.
SK: I’m Stuti Kumar, a consultant psychologist by profession, residing in Pune, Maharashtra. I have completed my Master’s in clinical psychology from Pune University along with a diploma in counselling psychology affiliated with ICPEM. I am the founder and managing director of Emotional Well-Being Mental Health Services (EWBMHS). I am the Advisory Board Member for emotional Health Industry Association (EHIA), California, USA, a member of the British Council for Complementary Therapies (BCCT), and a member of the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP).
WE: How did your journey towards being a psychologist begin?
SK: It all started when I took up psychology as a subject in my 12th standard since then I had a curiosity to learn about it more and understand the behavioural cues as to why humans react the
way they do! So my journey began with a Bachelor’s in psychology, till Masters and so on. It has been 7 years now since I am learning in the field.
WE: Tell us more about the work that you do.
SK: As a mental health professional, I cater to various consulting needs like online telephonic sessions, relationship counselling, child counselling, career counselling, stress management sessions, workshops and seminars etc. I am the founder and managing director of Emotional Well Being Mental Health Services where during the pandemic we started an emotional wellbeing helpline that offered free counselling sessions on the call through the pandemic to almost 100+ clients. Now we’re an organization that has various mental health services and corporate behavioural training, workshops, etc. I also work as a full-time educational counsellor, a child psychologist in a reputed pre-school in Pune.
WE: What challenges do you face in this profession?
SK: The first and foremost challenge which I think every mental health professional faces is the stigma which is so highly present in the field, the taboo and phobia that revolves around a psychologist in every aspect be it explaining to family or clients. Having to convince and explain to everyone that having a mental health disorder does not mean that you are ‘mad’ and how common misconceptions are always a hurdle to move forward in the domain.
WE: How do you think your initiative is helping people who are facing mental health issues?
SK: It is heart touching as to how many people me and my team at EWBMHS have helped during the pandemic with the sole purpose of just helping people with their struggles and day to day issues. This I feel has really made a difference somewhere. With a rise in suicidal cases at that point, it was like being in the field meant having a duty to reach people and help. This is what I believe always will be my aim and goal for my practice.
WE: What are your messages to mental health advocates and those dealing with mental health issues?
SK: My sole message to anyone dealing with mental health issues is to just take one day at a time and hold on. It may seem impossible right now but better days are yet to come. And most importantly, you are not alone in this. For all those lovely souls advocating about mental health, you all are very crucial to beating the stigma out…keep the amazing work going!
WE: What are your plans for the future?
SK: I am a very ambitious person with a lot of future goals. The ultimate goal is to contribute my best to create mental health awareness as much as I can. And definitely open a centre where anyone and everyone can avail any kind of mental health services under one roof. Along with all this, I have plans to pursue a PhD soon as well.