ental health is a major concern around the world. Despite the fact that public opinion about mental illness has improved over the last decades, research has shown that stigma against mental illness remains pervasive, owing primarily to media stereotypes and a lack of information. Furthermore, studies have shown that individuals prefer to attach negative stigma to mental health issues at a considerably higher rate than they do to other diseases and impairments. It appears that progress in the field of mental health is sluggish when compared to other fields. The beginning of 2020 was marked by a viral outbreak that resulted in the COVID- 19 pandemic and enormous threats to mental health throughout the world. Despite the fact that people had begun to recognise the importance of mental health, the epidemic had a devastating impact on people’s lives.
The stigma around mental health reduces the number of people who seek therapy and also reduces the quantity of resources available for adequate treatment. For someone who is dealing with a mental health illness, stigma and misinformation might seem like insurmountable challenges. As a result, it is critical to improve public awareness of mental health concerns and to organise support for mental health initiatives.
As part of an awareness campaign during Mental Health Week, the Department of Psychology at JAIN (Deemedto- be University), Manvantara, produced a street play. The street drama was staged on October 28, 2021, on the campuses of the Center for Management Studies (CMS) and JAIN (Deemed-to-be University) in Jayanagar, and it was attended by over 5,000 people.
The play opened with a representation of the terrifying news of the Covid-19 epidemic, followed by a lockdown that left everyone in a state of uncertainty and terror. Everything, with the exception of ambulance sirens, came to a grinding halt as a result of the imposed lockdown.
The drama provided a contrasting representation of how the same lockdown impacted various people in different ways. The first scenario described a lockdown that continued to be in effect month after month. The fact that humans are social creatures led to sentiments of frustration and resentment.
Due to the constant cancellation of exams, students were in a state of perplexity, and the uncertainty of what lay ahead resulted in emotions of discomfort and worry. Escalated incidences of depression were reported, as was a significant increase in loneliness from social isolation, and domestic violence increased to a significant level, with individuals having nowhere to turn for help.
The fear and uncertainty surrounding the situation had a significant impact on people’s mental health. Another scenario was portrayed in which individuals had a great deal of spare time on their hands and used it to pursue their passions, create small businesses, and promote their enterprises on social media.
Staying in the comfort of their own homes and interacting with others virtually had become the norm.
The play also demonstrated that the removal of the lockdown had both advantages and disadvantages. Some people felt socially apprehensive after having communicated only online for such a long period of time, while others felt relieved since they were able to continue their normal lives without being restricted to their houses. Large audiences gathered at the venues as a result of the powerful street play.