Every evening between 6 pm and 11 pm, Raj Dagwar walks on the streets of Fergusson College road. Unlike other visitors of this hotspot in Pune, the 23-year-old engineering student roams around with a placard in his hand, looking for people who will talk to him.
The placard exists for no advertisements or promotion. Instead, it says, “Tell me your story, and I will give you Rs 10”. The idea, he says, is to encourage people to talk about what burdens them, to open up about mental health, in order to break the stigma.
The initiative was born when Raj underwent a mental health crisis during the lockdown. After facing problems in his relationship, the combined anxiety and feelings of isolation skyrocketed. When he visited a psychiatrist to address his concerns, his friends mocked and teased him, he says.
Today, Raj roams the streets of Pune to break this very stigma. He hears hundreds of people vent, cry, and express themselves without feeling judged.
Watch this video to see how Raj is encouraging people to pause and listen to the problems surrounding mental health:
View this post on Instagram
Edited by Divya Sethu
We at The Better India want to showcase everything that is working in this country. By using the power of constructive journalism, we want to change India – one story at a time. If you read us, like us and want this positive movement to grow, then do consider supporting us via the following buttons.
Please read these FAQs before contributing.