A walk in the right direction

Life coach covering over 4,000 km to talk on mental health

When Ronit Ranjan, life coach, NLP practitioner, author and fitness expert, all rolled into one, was on a transit halt in the city en route to his final destination, the indomitable spirit was palpable.

And, Ronit started a campaign asking the Ministry of Education to incorporate the mandatory mental health curriculum in Indian schools (Standard 9-12).

“The curriculum (non-graded) is not about adding more syllabus, but rather educating and sensitising students through dialogues, discussions, activities, feedbacks, exercises, and skill training,” he says.

“It’s high time that the trend of ‘observing’ a ‘mental health week/day’ in schools once a year changes to all-year round curriculum,” the 23-year-old added.

Ronit, whose career with the National Defence Academy (NDA) ended because of a spinal injury in 2017, says that mental health is a hushed matter within the walls of several households.

“With COVID, depression has further skyrocketed in our society. Help is available but hardly availed. This is because we are never educated to recognise the signs and seek care. While there are conversations around mental health on social media sometimes, the ground level reality is abysmal,” he explained.

His walk, covering about 4,000 km from Kanyakumari to Leh, started on November 16 this year and in his journey, he will be meeting various government officials, making pit stops at schools, local government bodies, private institutions, and social activists, getting petition signatures, spreading awareness and working towards his cause.

“My objective is to ensure that mental health should be accessible to all. As of now, I have covered 1,250 km, visited over 20 schools and colleges and have met 10 government officials from different districts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and AP. I am currently in Hyderabad,” Ronit said.

Currently, the spirited ‘walker’ could get 18,641 petitions signed by citizens and his target is one lakh.

“Once I reach Delhi, I will approach Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal to present the petition. I would love to see the day when any (every) Indian teenager can openly talk about their issues, seek support from their parents and peers without being judged, build their ‘mental muscle’ and enhance not only their well-being but that of the entire Indian society,” he concluded.

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