4000 Km By Walk | From Kanyakumari To Leh | Nh Mental Health | Petition | Ronit Rajan | Ex-Army


He says, “I walk alone, so I stick to the National Highways. I enter inside roads to find shelter and food on the days I don’t find a town-ish area to crash.” Financing his six-month mission, some with his own savings and the rest through crowdfunding via ketto.org, in his backpack are essentials such as clothes, footwear, phone, power bank, medicines, knife, map, and petition copies. Battling multiple foot blisters, sores, and corns, It must get tiring and lonely while walking.

How does he stay mentally strong? “I keep reminding myself why I’m doing this,” comments he. And what are his reasons? He shares: “Growing up, I never heard terms such as depression, anxiety, mental health; just the occasional ‘suicides’ reported in the news channels. I always thought that something must be wrong with youngsters who choose to take their lives until I faced a similar situation in 2017 when I decided to take mine due to a spine injury that ended my career in the Armed Forces (National Defence Academy). I was diagnosed with depression and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and found myself flailing in the ocean of helplessness and silence.

I thought I was the only one who was going through this, but when I looked around there were so many.”
What should be included in the curriculum? He comments: “The curriculum (non-graded) is not about adding more syllabus, but rather educating and sensitising the students through dialogues, discussions, activities, feedbacks, exercises, skill training, etc.” His online petition on change.org reads, ‘Incorporate Mandatory Mental Health Curriculum in Schools – #mentalhealthinschools’.

He currently has 19,895 signatories to his petition and aims to get 1,00,000 signatures. “There are good days and bad days, but it’s important to remind yourself that some things in life are bigger than you,” states the man on a mission.

He is walking 4,000 KM from Kanyakumari to Leh (sic) Andrew Fleming , British Deputy High Commissioner to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

About Ronit Ranjan
Growing up, I never heard terms like depression, anxiety, mental health; just the occasional ‘suicides’ reported in the news channels. I always thought that something must be wrong with youngsters who choose to take their lives, until I faced a similar situation in 2017 when I decided to take mine due to a spine injury that ended my career in the Armed Forces (National Defence Academy).

It wasn’t long before I went through Depression and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I found myself flailing in the ocean of helplessness and silence. Back in those days I thought I was the only one who was going through this, but when I looked around there were so many; some my age, some elder, but mostly younger.

I did some research only to find out that one student dies by suicide every hour in India, and one out of four students in 13-15 age group is depressed in India. India has the highest suicide rate among the ten South-East Asian Countries.

While there are a lot of conversations around mental health, breaking the stigma, and its importance among schoolchildren, the ground level reality is abysmal. Even the NEP 2020, and the Manodarpan Initiative by the Education Ministry has not addressed the issue sufficiently.

The ask of the petition is to incorporate Mandatory Mental Health Curriculum(non-graded) in all public and private schools.

What does a Mental Health Curriculum include?

Understanding mental health and mental illness, the stigma of mental illness, information on specific mental illnesses, experiences of mental illness, seeking help and emotional support, the importance of positive mental health.
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL).
Life Skills Training
Parent(s) and Teacher(s) training.
The curriculum is not about adding more syllabus, but rather educating and sensitizing the students through dialogues, discussions, activities, feedbacks, exercises, skill training, etc. 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; or else it loses its effectiveness just like the sad state of ‘sex education’ in schools.

I urge you to sign this petition and play your part. The more people sign, the more momentum this campaign gains, increasing the chances of success. I cannot do this without you.

In support of this petition I am walking from Kanyakumari to Leh (4000 kms) since16th November 2020. In my journey I am meeting various government officials, making pit stops at schools, local government bodies, private institutions, and social activists, getting petition signatures, spreading awareness and taking this cause forward with maximum intensity

Source: Youtube