Published: 23rd November 2018
This Hubballi student has helped over 2k kids escape suicide and depression. Read his inspiring story
This student from Hubballi is helping teens fight depression by counselling them. He has helped more than 2000 teens for free and wants to continue his service
Meet Sharan Pradeep Naik, a 24-year-old student from Hubballi, who has been helping school and college students tackle prevalent issues like depression and suicide attempts. Often, parents decide what their children have to study, which often causes stress that leads students to consider suicide.
One such incident happened with Sharan that eventually led him to counsel school students at such a young age. "After I finished class 10, my parents did not bother to ask me what I wanted to study. My father wanted me to pursue engineering and got me enrolled in a diploma course in Automobiles in 2011. I could not excel in it and avoided attending classes. I could not understand what was taught nor was I interested in learning those subjects. My mother figured out that something was wrong with me and took me to a psychiatrist called Dr Shivanand Hiremath," he says.
Lifting spirits: Sharan organised a session for school and college students recently
Later, Sharan took a year's break from his studies and was on medication for three years because of depression. "At one point in time, I felt as though I had no future ahead and wanted to commit suicide for dropping out from my diploma course. With the doctor's help and motivation from my mother, I fought it and came back to being a normal person," he explains.
After studying Arts in PUC at the Government Arts and Science college in Hubballi, he went on to pursue Law at Karnataka University. Now, he is pursuing a Masters in Criminology and Forensic Science from Kanakadasa Shikshana Samiti's Arts, Commerce and Science College affiliated to Karnataka University.
After being mentored by Dr Hiremath and the Deshpande Foundation in Hubballi, he started counselling his fellow students two years ago — and has counselled more than 2,000 students. "There are many students, especially at the school level, who do not get a chance to decide what they want to study. It is their parents who decide whether they have to study engineering or medicine. While some live up to the expectation of parents, some do not. And this might lead them to depression and that's the reason, we get to see and hear of many suicide cases once the exam results are out," Sharan explains.
Sharan plans to conduct research on how to use agriculture and farming to bring children out of depression. He has counselled students in more than 50 schools in the North Karnataka Region.
When we asked Sharan how he reaches out to students, he tells us, "The Deshpande Foundation's Lead Programme encourages youngsters like me to start something on our own and excel in it. I personally approach schools and colleges to create awareness on how to fight depression, how to excel in the subjects that interest them or those that do not interest them, hormonal changes and much more. I explain these things to them in the form of a story and they seem to connect to it."
Now, Sharan is so famous that people consult him over the phone and he is available to help them for free around the clock. "Students come to us and talk about the issues that matter to them. Initially, when they talk to us, they do not trust us. In such cases, it is a bit difficult to gain trust. Similarly, when we approach parents and explain their children's issues, they reject it. The acceptance towards mental health or well being in our society is very low. We need to meet parents and make them understand issues better," he says. While some issues get solved at a very early stage with counselling, some do not. In such cases, Sharan consults his own doctor to help students.
Safety first: Sharan often refers serious cases to professional psychiatrists
According to him, one's lifestyle can heavily influence their mental health. "Regular exercise, reading, recreational activities and spending quality time with family or friends can help people and help a person avoid depression or feeling lonely," Sharan concludes.