Published On: April 22, 2018 08:48 AM NPT By: Kiran Lama

De-stigmatizing mental illness

De-stigmatizing mental illness

KATHMANDU, April 22; Nepali society may not be an easy place for a woman in her late twenties when she wants to pursue a profession of her choice with full concentration. As the society has a set of some unspoken rules on various crucial matters such as the time to get married and settle down, youths’ aspiration to work hard and excel in a field and establish oneself as an independent individual may face various societal challenges. 

However, Kripa Sigdel, 27, who has been working as an educator and co-founder of Psychbigyaan Network Nepal (PNN) looks confident to confront such challenges. Sigdel, also a junior counselor and training facilitator for the programs related to psychological issues, is actively contributing in this field since 2013 through blogging, volunteering, internships and now as a counselor, educator and trainer. She gets closely involved in trainings on youths, school mental health and psychology and does advocate for de-stigmatizing mental illness and psychological issues through blogging and social media.

“As the issues related to mental illness and psychology is very much stigmatized in our context, the desire of making it as normal as other physical health complications motivated me to work in this field,” she said. “Also, my love of listening to people and helping them out inspired me to continue in this field.”

Impressed by Sigdel’s talent, Hyaat Regency felicitated her as a Young Woman of the Year-2015 along with other nine wonderful women on the occasion of Women’s Day, 2015. She was one of the six youths from Nepal to get an opportunity to attend ‘University of Washington for the Program Studies’ of United States Institute in New Media and Journalism (SUSI) in 2014.

Sigdel who has been studying Psychology since 2011 topped Tribhuwan University when she completed ‘Masters in Psychology with Clinical Emphasis’. She did Bachelor’s in Psychology and Social Work from Goldengate International College, Baneshwar and A-Levels in Science from Orient College, Maharajgunj.

She suggests to other interested youths who aspire to study psychology and work in the field that one should join the sector only with a passion of working and learning. “Though the field of psychology seems to be attractive and job-oriented, but working in the field isn’t that easy. Don’t get influenced by quack practices. Only your genuine academic and humanitarian inclination will make you satisfy in this field,” she stated.

She finds the field of psychology an interesting subject to explore and help others change for better. “This is a subject to study our behaviors, thinking and feelings in a scientific way. The ultimate goal of psychology is to make desirable changes in human behaviors,” she said.
This year she has few plans to execute that include making people more aware about mental health through media and various other means. Secondly, other important plan is reaching to schools and to make them aware about the importance of school mental health that include academic stressors, age-related complications, teachers and students communication, teacher-parents-students coordination for better performance of students. She also plans to work in the field of suicide-related issues that is in increasing trend in Nepal. 

In five years down the line, she sees herself as a dedicated academician and counselor working for youths on issues of psychology. “I want to see some changes in our society when people talk about mental health complications just in a way they see people with other health complications,” she explained. 

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