We’ve come a long way when it comes to the discourse around mental health but yet our understanding of mental health is quite limited. When we account for it, we forget to understand the nuances of systemic oppression that also govern it as well as how basic rights and resources like education, financial security, and food security among others have a larger role to play.
We also can’t escape the fact that for a larger population, resources for mental health aren’t easily accessible. While all this cannot be ignored, we also cannot take away from the fact that a lot is being done in the space of mental health and that the first step in that direction is to have open conversations and discussions to destigmatize the taboo around taking help.
It is in this same vein that Vikram Hazarika’s podcast Communion exists and functions. Communion aims to provide a safe space for “...the sharing or exchange of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially on a mental or spiritual level.”
The idea is to create a dialogue around the topic of mental health in India, and its intersectionality with themes such as gender, sexuality, trauma, abuse, body image, privilege and the like, in an attempt to destigmatize the conversation around mental health, by hearing first-hand accounts of lived experiences.
By being vulnerable on a public platform about topics that can be difficult to address, they hope to inspire the listeners to feel less ashamed about their own trauma, baggage, and mental health issues, along with hoping to make them feel less isolated in their own mental health struggles by finding resonance in the stories of the speakers.
Even the original cover art of Communion which is illustrated by renowned artist Jasjyot Singh Hans reflects this ideology. Much like the intent of the podcast, the cover art also tries to incorporate themes of inclusivity, diversity, visibility and representation.
Season 1 of Communion will feature 6 episodes in total, out of which 3 were released on the 11th of May, 2022, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month and the remaining three are set to come out towards the end of May.
Here’s a cursory look at what the first season of the podcast will entail:
Episode 1: A first-hand account of the intersectionality of mental health & gender, with musician Bidisha.
Episode 2: A first-hand account of the intersectionality of mental health and sexual abuse, with Arnav Thadani.
Episode 3: Discussing the intersectionality of mental health and art, with Vikramaditya Sharma, founder of Nowform.
Episode 4: Discussing the intersectionality of queer identities & mental health with trans rights advocate Teya.
Episode 5: In conversation with Tanya Bedi about how body image impacted her mental health.
Episode 6: In conversation with model and thespian Rashmi Mann about the impact of love and dating on a person’s mental health.
Check out the podcast here.
If you enjoyed reading this, we also suggest: