Monday, 18 December 2017


PARI FOUNDATION: STRESS? EXHALE IT OUT --CHILDREN!: STRESS?    EXHALE  IT OUT --CHILDREN!   STRESS has been called the Health Epidemic of the 21st Century  which if not prevented or coped a...

Wednesday, 12 July 2017


 STRESS has been called the Health Epidemic of the 21st Century which if not prevented or coped adaptively, can lead many to Depression and other maladaptive behaviours , irrespective of caste,sex,age or creed. More than 300 million people suffer from Depression worldwide today , that is 5% of the World population 

‘Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives’, says the WHO.

 It has been found that about 86% of college students are exhausted mentally today, 30% of students are depressed and unable to function optimally and about 6.6% have contemplated committing suicide.

Why are the children and youth so stressed today? Why are they so depressed, that every day you get to read in the newspapers, of a suicide committed somewhere?
It has been reported that every 4 minutes there is a suicide somewhere in the world! We need to analyse this problem thoroughly and try to find solutions to it.
               Youth are the backbone of the society of every country. Stressed youth are psychologically disturbed and confused. The reasons for this malady are manifold. There is a plethora of information being bombarded upon them from all directions today — the internet, their peers, teachers, media, parents, films, school, all of whom have a different perspective and story to tell. Children find it difficult to differentiate the reel from the real and try to ape the reel, with no one to tell them that it’s all fake and far from reality. The expectations the youth have to face, from their parents, friends, teachers and most importantly their own expectations play a significantly daunting role in stressing themThese expectations may be academic, performance, career, social and many more. Sometimes there are cultural, communication and language barriers which stress them. It may also be something as simple as the the food which is served to them in hostels, which they find unpalatable. Adjustment problems and loneliness are GIANT STRESSORS which can have a devastating effect on them. Comparisons, Competitions , Criticism have a significant role to play in stressing the youth.

All or some of these problems, have a hazardous effect on the psychology of the child, which, if not coped adaptively by them, can lead them to depression ,drug abuse or other risky maladaptive behaviours. I have been to many schools and colleges, in and around DehraDun India,to psycho-educate the students ,about Stress Prevention and Healthy Coping, and I found that many students studying there were from far flung States and remote areas. They were very lonely, and had communication and food problems. They found it difficult to cope with the daily pressures they had to face and many drifted to ‘short term relief measures’ like Drugabuse and Addictions. The lucky ones however, had supportive and intelligent parents,who communicated frequently with them and helped them find solutions to their problems. These children made friends, coped well and were happy.

When parents and teachers have taught their children Resilience and the importance of being in high self-esteem, such children learn healthy coping skills and manage to keep stress at bay. However those who have NOT learnt Resilience or self-esteem from their parents or teachers from their childhood, are often emotionally weak . They are unable to find rational solutions to their problems and get easily stressed, depressed, and may take to mal-adaptive coping like drugs and alcohol abuse or other risky behaviours. Chronic persistent Depression may lead them to suicide! A supportive family background does wonders for the child’s psychology and these children develop a high EQ.

Sadly this is not the scenario today. When distressed or confused children turn to their parents for emotional support and guidance, they often face disappointment and get no help from them. Now this maybe because of a number of reasons. Either the parents are stressed themselves, or lack knowledge of how to EFFECTIVELY communicate or empower their children or are too busy to bother. Such children then instinctively turn to their peers, films, pornography, or drugs for information and solace and end up getting addicted ,depressed or misinformed. I need to add,at this point, that I find the parents today, to be a very confused and stressed lot too, as far as their children are concerned. They feel guilty and depressed .They are in need of counselling’s too.

The need of the hour is AWARENESS of Good, Effective, Happy Parenting Skills by the Parents, support by teachers with empathy and compassion, for the youth, so that they can effectively communicate and bond with the children, as well as empower them with Resilience, self-esteem, healthy coping skills and confidence. Only then can children learn to be happy and stress-free.

There should be awareness and empowerment workshops for the children , in schools and colleges, where they are taught Resilience, assertiveness, self-esteem and Problem Solving Skills. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy works wonders in such cases. It is ALSO very important to remember that children invariably model the behaviour of their parents and teachers. So my advice to both parents and teachers, is to BE, DO AND BEHAVE in the manner they want their children to be,do and behave.
       Let us all get together and save our most precious human resource — our children and youth — from stress depression and suicide. PARIFOUNDATION is working hard to empower youth by spreading awareness about Prevention of Stress and its consequences.It is possible and we can all do it!

Dr.Sona Kaushal Gupta
Neuro-psychologist DehraDun
CBSE Counsellor

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Mental Illness is a scar on the mind which leaves the person emotionally shattered,and drains him or her of all his mental and physical energy.
While we were growing up,as children, we were all taught by our parents and teachers,how to eat well,how to study well,how to speak well,how to sit properly,how to behave well and so on.But no one ever taught us HOW TO THINK well,what to think or how much to think!
We grew up with all our focus on our physical and behavioral well being.As a result our Mental well being was neglected and there in lies the whole story !
Today Stress and Depression have spread like cancer in the society ,and have taken the shape of an epidemic.There is hardly any family or person who ,in his life time,has not been stressed or who has not seen stress or depression in those near and dear to him.There is some more bad news added to this,that stress has some more devious consequences which can lead one to addictions and suicides.
However there is some good news too!With modern technology,knowledge,technique- s,medicines and therapy ,collectively or selectively,depending on the severity and type of mental illness,it is now possible to prevent stress,or harness/manage the stress.

I emphasize on ‘stress’ because stress is the root cause of all our mental maladies today.Both ,stress and its consequences, like depression and anxiety are hazardous to our mental health.And there is no denying the fact that a good mental health does lead to a good physical health whereas a stressed mind caters to the infamous psychosomatic illnesses of the body.
The keyword to the solution of all these problems is AWARENESS.Adequate Knowledge and  psychoeducation,which empowers a person and once he learns the art of positive and rational thinking,he is able to say NO to stress and other mental illnesses which may ensue.COPING with stressful conditions adaptively helps in preventing its manifestation in our mind,but if it has managed to invade our mind inspite of all our efforts,it is still possible to MANAGE and do away with it,provided we know the techniques to become stress-free.
Children should be taught the art of positive thinking,‘what to think’, and how much to think,in schools.If schools fail to do so, the parents should be well equipped to teach THE RIGHT THINKING SKILLS to their children.There is no denying the fact that in a stress free mind lies the secret to a happy life,which we all look forward to, and which we all envisage for our children.
PARI FOUNDATION has taken up the formidable challenge WITH THE HELP OF TECHNOLOGY AND CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) AND PSYCHO-EDUCATION, as  our tools, of spreading awareness in all sections of society,about the hazards of stress on one’s mental emotional and consequently on our physical health,and how ,with the right way of thinking one can be prevent being stressed.Management of a person in stress is also taught by us,but our main focus is on prevention,which as we all know is the cure and is also better than the cure in this case.
Dr.Sona Kaushal Gupta
Neuro-psychologist and Founder PARI FOUNDATION

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Practice Empathy and Teach it to Children

Practice Empathy and Teach it to Children
Empathy is the ability to read another person’s emotions. In other words it means to try and put yourself in the shoes of the other person, so as to be able to understand what he is feeling or going through emotionally. Many children just do not know the meaning or the art of practicing empathy, because no one has ever explained it or discussed it with them. It is a critical life skill and should be taught to children right from an early age. To be able to understand what your friend is feeling after a fight or to feel the hurt your parents are going through after you have behaved rudely with them, or to feel the emotions of a sick relative,are emotional skills which children are grossly lacking these days. In today’s world of technology, children are so much engrossed in the ‘I, Me or Mine’ phenomenon, that they tend show traits of narcissism in their behaviour. Technology gadgets have taken up most of their time and they have become recluses and loners lost in the world of visual fantasy of social media and their gadgets.
They hardly find time or want to play or share their game or feelings with their friends. Outdoor games are gradually becoming extinct for the children today, as children have no time or interest or energy left for them.. A University of Michigan study of nearly 14,000 college students found that students today have about 40% less empathy than college kids had in the 1980s and 1990s.Children today have NO idea of how to practice empathy and will surely be less happy as adults as a result. Parents need to understand this and need to practice and teach Empathy to their children. Schools should also take initiatives to include Empathy training workshops in their curriculum where children can freely discuss the importance of understanding others emotions. Only then will we be able to make our children more caring , compassionate and empathetic.
Parenting is the most challenging task to master these days. It was a duty so easy and natural for parents, some time back, but today it has become the most formidable task for them. Parents are a confused lot these days. They complain that they are not able to understand their children and vice versa. ‘Empathy’ is an alien word for most of them too. Both parents are working parents these days trying to do their best to rear up their children with all materialistic comforts. As a result parents too are in a lot of stress. They have no time for Empathy or Compassion in their hectic schedule themselves. Then how do we expect such parents to teach such important skills to their kids? It is a wake-up call for all of us. Parents should learn how to be de-stressed and should adopt ‘good, happy parenting skills’ which include Empathy and Compassion .The children are fast learners and will immediately copy or model their parents behavior. They will surely pick up such skills from their parents and involve Empathy and Compassion in their day to day behavior, once they see their elders do it.