Destigmatizing Mental Health with Monica Sharma

Glenn Close was undoubtedly right when he quoted that “What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” The world is battling with a global pandemic as a community. Unfortunately, apart from the COVID-19 infection, the world has also witnessed cases of deteriorating mental health. However, the fight against ill mental health and stigmas is not a year old. It has been in existence since the beginning of humanity and the fact cannot be declined.

Fortunately, in the present day and age, we have a lot of mental health professionals like psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors, each specializing in their own domain, who help us manage difficult times in our lives. In the preceding article, we are going to look at one such mental health advocate who has achieved great milestones with her stellar performance in the field of psychology, thereby helping many.

As she finished her high school education, Monica Sharma was appointed as an assistant to a pediatrician. During her assistantship, she observed how most of the patients used to walk in and discuss their problems with her without any apparent reason. Going through a difficult career strain from her life, Monica was advised by the pediatrician to opt for psychology. This was not for the sake of trying her luck in the subject. The reasons were rooted in the fact that many patients, irrespective of their demographic backgrounds, felt comfortable sharing their problems with her.

Powered by the motivation to do something prosocial in life, Monica decided to take the route towards becoming a psychologist. She was least concerned about the financial outcomes and wanted to indulge in a professional that was calming and self-satisfactory. After looking at all the educational aspects, she decided to pursue a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Psychology.

She worked hard to train herself for becoming perfect in the desired field. For the same, she took training, attended workshops, and enrolled herself in varied internships across India to learn and explore different domains and required skills.

After getting her post graduate diploma in guidance and counseling, Monica started working in non-governmental organizations as a counselor. The job role was giving her the satisfaction she desired, but she knew this was not her final destination. She realized that confidentiality, as an ethic, is becoming a hurdle in her field. Her anonymity to the field posed another problem.

Nonetheless, she was focused and determined on remaining on the same path. Visualising where she sees herself after 5 years from the present time helped her gain the much needed clarity in her life. She extended her network to talk to some of the acquaintances who helped her fetch some clients.

To further narrow down the scope of her study, Monica completed another PGD in rehabilitation and started catering to the needs of patients who are suffering from the necessary issues of anxiety and depression. She counseled generally till 2015. It was then she noticed that relationship issues were the main concerns leading people to this stage. This realisation led her to gain some insights into couple and family therapy through another post graduate diploma course in 2017.

That being said, it is also significant for the readers to know that being a mental health professional, Monica faced a lot of mental health stigma during her practice. She was often faced with clients tellingher how difficult was the decision to seek therapy due to the so-called societal norms of being normal and abnormal. Her career was also impacted by the prevailing stigma. “When people visit a doctor, lawyer, or any other professional, they refer them to their near and dear ones, after a positive experience. Unfortunately, this practice is not encouraged when you see a therapist”, she says.

Talking about the cases of deteriorating mental health during pandemic, Ms. Monica Sharma says that interpersonal relationships have been affected deeply. The impact can be attributed to the expectations related to time and support. She says that it is important that people understand how everyone needs their own time to heal and bounce back to normalcy. Imposing relationship rules is not the answer. It is also important to tackle time management that has been on stake due to the work from home tradition, Do not procrastinate or take things for granted. Instead, make a schedule, and stick to it to give proper time to family and work, thereby creating a healthy work-life balance.

Ms. Monica Sharma also pens a note for all the psychology enthusiasts out there. She says that the primary thing to remember is that there are no shortcuts in the field. Training, internships, and educational workshops are an inevitable part of the field and they push you to do better. If possible, try to seek training under different practitioners. It would help you in adopting a style that is unique to you. Observe how they handle patients, integrate their methods, and form a technique of your own. It is very important to be creative in the field.

When you fall sick and feel ill, don’t you turn up to see a general physician or a family doctor? Consulting a mental health professional for your depleting mental state is very similar, and in some cases, more important than the previous case. Many of us might have read or heard this example many times, but it is high time that we start implementing the same to our lives. 

Ms. Monica Sharma has carefully catered to the needs of mentally ill and dissatisfied people since the very beginning of her career and continues to do so. She has been rewarded for her selfless contribution into the field through prestigious awards. The Real Superwoman 2020 by Forever Star India Awards, Best Relationship Therapist and Life Coach 2020 by Crazy Tales, and the Best Therapist in Delhi NCR 2020 by The Global Choice Awards are some of her notable achievements. The laurels she has received does not stop her zeal to learn and serve more to the society, and we’ll be forever grateful to her for her philanthropic contribution. Connect with her at  to know more about the services she dispenses.

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