24-year-old Purnima Kulkarni graduated last year completing her MSc in clinical psychology. She has also completed her BSc in psychology and went to pursue her diploma in acting. She has always wanted to connect the world of entertainment and education for the greater good and is juggling between her mental health service - The Grey Matters and her desire for acting.
She created The Grey Matters in October last year. “I wanted to start even before the pandemic. I have a tendency to second guess myself. I did not know if people would like it,” she says. She decided to curate content on Instagram to educate people about the aspects of mental health, and let the people steer the direction of this idea.
She intends to help people understand the importance of mental health, as they do with physical health. In a cluttered space such as Instagram, she wants to stand out by being as authentic as possible. “I don’t want my page to become another motivational quotes page because I want people to accept their mental health issues the way it is,” she adds.
Although she is aware of her ability to offer therapy, she wants to focus on other things going on in her life and does not want to compromise on the quality and time that she would provide as a therapist. However, she has put together a group of 5 therapists, while she handles content.
Purnima Kulkarni: curator of the Grey Matters
According to Purnima, holding a degree is not enough to become a good therapist. “I personally make sure all the therapists that are associated with the Grey Matters are people I have handpicked with confidence based on their skills and training,” she says. She wants to create a safe space for people and her team through her mental health service.
Whenever a person approaches her service, they are asked to fill a form that includes their basic demographic details and history. They are encouraged to express their feelings and expectations from therapy. This helps her understand their needs. “Usually people tend to spend their entire first session just explaining what is happening to them. I want the person to leave their first session with some sense of direction,” she says.
The Grey Matters strives to reduce the trend of “therapist shopping.” She prioritizes the needs of her clients before consulting them to a psychologist or therapist. She wants to change the shattered perception of mental health services for those people who have lost hope in seeking help due to the lack of accessibility and empathetic therapists and psychologists.
She highlights that people may often set unrealistic expectations from the process. When it comes to physical health, doctors can work around a degree of objectivity. However, while dealing with people who have a history of trauma, it is essential to acknowledge that everyone has a different story. The Grey Matters works to provide therapy that is tailor-made for the person and ensures fewer people walk out dissatisfied. She hopes that mental health services realize the importance of being honest and acknowledge what they don’t know, especially when people are losing faith in therapy.
“No matter what, I will continue to educate people and connect them to my team of psychologists and therapists even if it changes the life of one person,” she says.
Disclaimer: The Tannoy is not endorsing any organisation mentioned in the article.