The Crusader of Mental Health

The Speaker

CRC gets invited to speak two to three times a week, which works out to at least 100 speeches a year. These give him an opportunity to meet the readers of his books and hear their feedback; they often praise his books. He feels fulfilled that his books have touched people’s lives. After every speech, many in the audience come up to him and say that their questions had been answered or that they have got solutions to their problems.

The first time he spoke on stage was at an inter-school debating competition when he was in ninth class. He was tense and did not listen attentively to the speakers of the ‘against’ team. He was nervous when his turn came, and could not rebut points raised by them. He and his classmate lost. The first winner was a girl. He noted that she had vigorously rebutted points of the speakers and spoken passionately, drawing repeated applause. He got a lesson on how to speak forcefully and effectively. His stage fear persisted for a few more years, but he grabbed every opportunity to speak. He learnt that to hold the attention of an audience, he should quote real life examples, give appropriate references from mythologies, quote sayings, talk about common problems faced by everyone and offer solutions. To make them remember his suggestions, he started coining acronyms.
The topics of his speeches are common mental disorders – their causes and treatment, mental stress – its negative effects and how to manage stress, how to handle and control emotional outbursts, mental problems of adolescents, women and elderly people, life skills, how students can improve memory and overcome fear of examinations, mental retardation, substance abuse, dispelling superstitions through logic and science, and the belief in spirits and sorcery.

In some of his presentations he shows a slide which shows images of various gods and mythological figures. Next to each is the name of the mental illness of the god or person, as diagnosed by him. Rama, who is regarded as the ideal man, became depressed and committed suicide; Shiva, suffers reactive psychosis at the death of his wife; and so on. The message is that anyone, even a god, can become mentally ill. It is not due to sins committed by the person; it ought not to carry a stigma.

CRC always carries a small lot of his books when he goes for lectures. These are exhibited for sale, and are often sold out during the event.