A Helping hand
Mental health issues like trauma, depression, anxiety, stress and peer pressure have become common among teenagers these days and need to be addressed by professionals. While these problems can feel just as bad as any other physical illness, parents and teachers may not be able to identify them easily. That’s where a counselling psychologist like Dr Geetha Challa comes into the picture. It was when she went to schools in villages that she realised that people there do not know that a person can indeed suffer from mental health issues other than mental instability.
“I pursued post-graduation in three different fields — psychology, child development and social work. I then went on to pursue a PhD in psychology. After completing my studies, I did some groundwork in villages and realised that many students there needed to be counselled. After a few years of service, I founded an NGO called Mano Jagrithi in 2012. “Every month, I visit one social welfare or tribal school and conduct workshops. I teach the students stress management and self-motivation among other things. I also train parents and teachers in counselling, so that they can take care of the children in my absence,” says 46-year-old Dr Geetha, whose husband Dayanand is an Additional SP, Greyhounds.
Dr Geetha is also associated with the Telangana state police department and the SHE teams. “More than just punishment, the eve-teasers and minor criminals reported by the SHE teams need counselling as they may be under peer pressure. I have counselled around 300 such teenagers and their parents,” says Geetha, who is also the counsellor at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in the city. “The police need counselling because they are under a lot of work pressure and mostly away from their families,” she says.
Dr Geetha worked under the guidance of the late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam during his Lead India 2020 movement. She is a certified by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) for her work in the field of psychology. Addressing teenagers suffering from depression, she says, “Time is a medicine and change is inevitable. You must believe that you are strong and face all the challenges.” Dr Geetha is open to providing free counselling in colleges and schools. “I must thank the TS government for the support they provide when I have to visit government schools,” she concludes.