ARTIST – TANITH GOULD
PHOTOGRAPHY – GAELLE PERICA
INTERVIEW – RONISH MANANDHAR
TRANSLATOR – ADITEE BHATTARAI
Razee is a psychologist who also practices healing and has a master’s degree in neuro-linguistic programming. Before the day of the earthquake, Razee’s mostly conducted mental health trainings at various colleges in Kathmandu. After the disaster, she realized the lack of psychological aid available to victims. Together with her husband, Razee worked to help her fellow Nepalese process the crisis situation they found themselves in.
My husband and I sat down, and thought, what could we do? If we had to distribute food, we didn’t have enough money at that time. If we were to distribute materials, we didn’t have the funds nor the contacts. So after brainstorming, within the third day after of the earthquake, we came up with a campaign called Hug and Heal. We focused on the resources available to us. We worked in related fields of mental health, training, psychology. In regards to that, how could we help the people who were in trauma at that time?
On the third day after the earthquake, we went to Tudikhel, and asked the army for help. We got to set up our tent with the army’s help and started running our Hug and Heal campaign with the slogan ‘Live and Let Live’ health campaign. Our objective was to give them flowers and console them. ‘We are here for you and if you have any problems, you can come to us,’ was our motto. We had around 50 student volunteers from Prime College who helped us with this task. We also had a team of 25 psychologists who offered to help.
The people who were unable to properly fall asleep, and were facing severe trauma, came to our camp. We healed and counseled them. When they came back to us the next day, saying that our healing had helped them sleep, it was very encouraging for us.
We paired up together with medical camps in order to assist with healing and counseling of psychological problems. The medical camp and psychology camp worked together and we started going to places like Nuwakot, Dolakha, Sindhuli, Pokhara, Gorkha. Since then, we have helped more than 35,000 people, directly or indirectly, to deal with their traumas, and we feel that it has brought a positive result. We also ran a few awareness campaigns in schools, for kids who were afraid to go to school. We tackled and tried to minimize the trauma the students had faced.
We’ve been providing a special Hug and Heal package, which includes meditation, awareness programs, breathing exercises, healing after trauma skills (HATS), art related activities, physical exercises, somatic experiencing, mental activities, eye desensitization and many other processes that help to quickly release stress and overcome trauma.
If the mental state of a person is well, he will be able to build his house as per his own requirements. If we regularly provide mental health awareness programs in these areas to heal people psychologically, and make them healthier, it will be beneficial in the long run.
If we run awareness programs, but do not follow up again, people will naturally plunge back into depression and trauma. Thus, we have to give them the necessary tools for fighting depression and releasing stress, like breathing exercises, visualizing processes or mental balance programs. If we can equip them to release stress on their own through these processes, things will be much easier for mental health professionals.