Project Socha – A Unique Mental Health Workshop For Young Indians

Project Socha – A Unique Mental Health Workshop For Young Indians
Project Socha

How many times have we, young Indians, chosen to withdraw rather than express our insecurities? How often do we use denial and emotional indifference as defence mechanisms? Much too often, we choose to say “No, I’m fine” in an attempt to ignore feelings that could potentially disturb our sense of calm or make us upset and angry. But where do such defensive behaviours come from? How can we overcome them to live healthier and happier lives with minimal stress on our mental health? Those are precisely the questions Project Socha wants to answer.

Organised by three friends, B.S. Bhuveneswari, Harvey Harrison, and Kirtivardhan Joshi, Project Socha is an interactive four-hour workshop being held in Mumbai for young Indians across the city. Bhuveneswari, a 21-year-old marketing professional and spoken word poet who spends her time extensively researching about mental health and human rights, tells me that the word ‘socha’ (so-kha) means “hidden vulnerability of others” and has been adapted from John Koenig’s Youtube channel, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a compendium of invented words for emotions we all feel but might not necessarily have a word for. “It’s the kind of basic human vulnerability that we’d all find familiar but is still somehow surprising when we notice it in others. It’s an open question why we have such public confidence, and such private doubts,” Koenig says.

L-R: B.S. Bhuveneswari and Kirti Joshi (Courtesy: Project Socha)

“One of the key motives we started this workshop with is to engage with the youth in a conversation in a manner that they can embrace their vulnerabilities. The idea is that accepting your vulnerability can make you strong,” says Bhuveneswari, who is a strong driving force of the motivation behind and intention of their new initiative. The founders, having also battled their own mental health issues, have designed this workshop in a way that they believe would help someone else. The workshop hopes to encourage people to channelise their emotions and thoughts into art, understand the need for dialogue, recognise empathy as essential to one’s mental health, and to ultimately adopt a happier outlook to life.

Designed to make an individual feel a rollercoaster of emotions, Socha touches upon aspects like intimacy, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence through exercises that seek to discuss personal experiences and narratives and thereby empower participants to “put themselves out there,” Bhuveneswari explains.

Socha also encourages attendees to reconnect with their childhood artistic pleasures like writing letters or postcards as a form of self-discovery. To do this, the workshop includes art-based activities like ‘The joy of giving’ where participants are asked to sketch three different gifts– one for themselves, one for a loved one, and another for a stranger. Along with art, the session uses music inspired by nature as a creative expression and an exploration of the power of music in healing.

Harvey Harrison (Courtesy: Project Socha)

This segment is specially curated by Harvey, a 22-year old music producer and guitarist who effectively learned to deal with his anxious thoughts by listening and creating music. “He would use a Tibetan Bowl (Kigonki). Scientifically speaking, the frequency at which the Kigonki is played is lower than the frequency that your brain is conditioned to, which is why you feel calmer,” Bhuveneswari says. Harvey’s session culminates by discussing the importance of eliminating the stigma around mental health while sharing key learnings and realisations through an interactive Q&A session.

For Kirtivardhan Joshi, a strong desire to solve problems and take action against struggle is the motivation behind his involvement with Project Socha. He wants to “change the way people perceive and deal with this issue” of mental health. And along with Bhuveneswari and Harry, after extensive conversations, decided to conceptualise Project Socha as a non-profit initiative that was open to people from all backgrounds.

Project Socha is absolutely free of cost because the founders want to increase its accessibility and not have economic barriers prevent mental healing. “We will end the workshop with a ‘Pay as you like’ structure... This doesn’t necessarily have to be in cash. Whoever attends the workshop can help us out for the upcoming editions in whatever way they can, either via money, additional stationery or helping us with non-profit event spaces. The goal is to maximize our reach,” says Bhuveneswari.

The first edition will be on December 15 at Redbricks Offices, Kaledonia, Andheri (East) from 4 PM to 8 PM. You can register for workshops here.

You can contact the organisers on or on Instagram.

Feature image by: Project Socha

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