New Delhi: The issue of ‘perfectionism’ has been prevalent among adolescents and is harmful in terms of its association with mental health problems, a study published in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has stated. The study associated perfectionism with an increased risk of sadness and a decreased sense of self-worth among adolescents.
Several youngsters have fallen victims to this, but 15-year-old Aniketh Kalagara from Bengaluru has initiated a step towards mitigating the issue among the youth through his project ‘Ridere’.
Ridere works towards raising awareness among young children and their parents about the issue of ‘pressure of perfection’ among youth aged 10 to 18. The project is driven by his personal experiences.
At the age of seven, when I used to live in the United States, I was bullied by many people for my physical appearance – my height and my weight were constantly looked down upon. Even as a teenager, I faced constant pressure and a need to be perfect. This pressure has led me to want to start this project, as I know that there are many teenagers around me and many of my friends have this pressure to be perfect, both physically and academically.
Through Ridere, Mr. Kalagara conducts multiple mental health workshops and sessions for the youth under the guidance of medical experts and educators. As a part of the project, Mr. Kalagara also educates families of youth about the importance of a parent-child relationship, as he believes a parent-child bond lays the foundation for a child’s personality, life choices, and overall behaviour.
At present, he is actively working with a psychiatrist based in England, Dr. Raja Kumar, and CEO of StayQrious, Anand Srinivas, who have helped him through the course of this project.
Dr. Raja is my source of inspiration in leading the project. He has also guided me as to what impact the project should have among the teenagers. He wishes to reach out to as many people as possible.
So far, Mr. Kalagara has conducted nearly 80 customer interviews with four professional counsellors and psychiatrists, addressing mental health effects of ‘perfectionism’, such as anxiety, low self-esteem, etc.
The 15-year-old had recently hosted a cricket event, ‘Aspire’, with the idea of using the sport as a medium to bring different kinds of people under one roof and spread awareness about mental health and increase the reach of the project. For the event, he successfully raised Rs. 1 lakh and arranged sponsors.
Ridere has impacted more than 400 families and also educated them about parent and child relationships. Most of the families got familiar with the project after participating in several events like ‘Aspire’ hosted by Mr. Kalagara.
Many people got to know about the project through social media as well. So, this shows the impact of the project – the fact that people can go back home and talk to each other about their mental health. I’ve had students tell me that after attending the workshop or sessions, they were able to open up to their mother or father. That is the effect I really need and look forward to in the future, whether it is just one person or 10, Mr. Kalagara said.
1 Million For 1 Billion
Mr. Kalagara enrolled with the Bengaluru-based organisation 1M1B’s (1 Million for 1 Billion) Future Leaders programme, from which his project received acknowledgement.
1M1B engages and enables youth to become future ready problem solvers creating real world impact. Established in 2014, 1M1B is a United Nations accredited non-profit with special consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is associated with the UN Department of Global Communications.
Through their flagship programme, Future Leaders, 1M1B helps the youth acquire critical skill sets, mindset and toolsets to resolve social issues.
Through the 1M1B’s Future Leaders programme, he participated in a 3-day immersion in New York and had the opportunity to showcase his impact at the annual 1M1B Activate Impact Summit at the United Nations Headquarters.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.