Panaji: In a bid to enlighten and spread awareness on mental health among youth in a more creative and interactive manner, mental health research organisation Sangath’s ‘It’s Ok To Talk’ youth campaign launched Mann Mela, a first-of-a-kind multimedia pop-up museum at the Goa Open Arts Festival in Goa from February 13 to 16.
“People respond well when they hear to other’s personal experience in dealing with mental health problems rather than reading or hearing to experts,” project head of Goa based NGO Sangath’s ‘It’s Ok To Talk’ campaign Pattie Gonsalves told GT.
Mann Mela (or, Festival of the Mind), is a travelling museum comprised of interactive projects and artefacts that reflect the stories of real individuals’ lived experiences with mental health needs, told through the components of the museum.
“People want to learn about the grievances of the other people instead of listening to long talks by experts. Through these exhibits we want to make it more interactive through storytelling and sharing personal experiences. Although the primary target of the project is youth but we are mulling to rope in parents and teachers who interact with these youths,” said Gonsalves, who is the founder of Mann Mela.
Mann Mela is the first pilot project which was launched in Goa on Thursday. The pop up museum alsoe be exhibited at four other cities including Imphal, Delhi, Mumbai and Bhopal.
“At Mann Mela we want to encourage mental health awareness and knowledge building using simple language on how people feel and about their struggles. We have created a platform where people can share their stories anonymously to make others realise that everyone has a mental health and break out the strict stigma about mental health,” Nitya Kuthiala, a researcher at Quicksand said.
At present, two of the creative exhibits, “Dear Diary” and “A Day in My Life” have been put up for the audience. While the former is story of a non-binary gender identifying individual the latter is a story of a young woman from Delhi living under restrictions. These are the first of many stories the Mann Mela museum will create over the course of this year,” Nitya added.
Mann Mela is a collaboration between an interdisciplinary team of young people, including those with lived experiences of mental health needs, researchers and experts, designers, artists and technologists and is being implemented in collaboration with Quicksand Design Studio. It is supported by the Wellcome Trust, UK.
The Goa Open Arts Festival is being held at Don Joao Heritage House & Lawns Calangute-Mapusa Rd, Dias Vaddo Nagoa, Bardez, Goa and is open to the public.