SHURANJEET TAKHAR, 21

The Observer - - FIRST PERSON -

A mas­ter’s stu­dent at Ox­ford Univer­sity and the founder of Tarakī, which ad­dresses men­tal health is­sues “I’m us­ing so­cial me­dia dif­fer­ently to try to make pos­i­tive so­cial change within my com­mu­nity. While grow­ing up, I used so­cial me­dia for leisure ac­tiv­i­ties – pro­cras­ti­na­tion, looking at memes, and on­line shop­ping. I soon re­alised that mind­less scrolling and a con­stant over­load of in­for­ma­tion can re­ally im­pact your phys­i­cal and men­tal health. So­cial me­dia was a con­tin­u­ous strain and not a point of re­lax­ation.

“To move away from this, I have be­gun to ap­pre­ci­ate how so­cial me­dia can be used to change peo­ple’s lives for the bet­ter. I re­cently launched Tarakī, a cam­paign on Face­book, Twit­ter and In­sta­gram de­signed to en­cour­age Pun­jabi men to dis­cuss and share their men­tal health ex­pe­ri­ences. We want to show Pun­jabi men that any­one can be im­pacted by men­tal health trou­bles – it is OK to dis­cuss is­sues and, im­por­tantly, it is OK to seek help.”

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