In a rare gesture, filmmaker Prakash Jha, known for his hard-hitting grassroots films which challenge society to confront issues faced by the common man, came out in support of mental health warriors. Speaking at the fourth edition of The Restore Awards™️ held at Taj Lands End in Mumbai today, Jha stated, “It’s time to treat mental health at par with physical health. When you have an accident, heart attack, you run to the doctor. But when we have an emotional breakdown, we hush it. Unmute yourself.”
The Restore Awards™️ are an annual event that began in 2019, to help people come out with their physical and emotional suffering rather than hush it up. Other leaders who attended the awards ceremony as special guests were Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Industries who was also the first chief guest in 2019 for these awards; Dr Jawahar Panjwani, senior orthopaedic surgeon, who supports mind body healing instead of just prescriptions and surgeries, actor Vivek Mushran who came out in support for the cause, and other senior corporate business leaders who have over the last four years, consistently demonstrated their solidarity for the awards.
While lighting the inauguration lamp at the awards ceremony, which recognises and celebrates mental health warriors, healers, doctors, sustainability entrepreneurs, Jha explained his presence by saying, “These awards are the catalyst between those struggling with emotional health issues, often without family support, and therapists, doctors who are doing impactful work in the space of mental wellbeing. With my presence, I support and applaud these on-ground angels impacting their communities.” His films – many reaching blockbuster status – push society and the system to confront issues of bonded labour, caste, class, power, politics, policing, corruption, patriarchy, and resistance. And now, it seems like he is challenging society to open up about the trauma of mental health issues.
“It just took one email from us for him to agree to stand for this cause and be our chief guest at the awards,” said Rachna Chhachhi, cancer nutrition expert and founder, The Restore Awards™️. “He didn’t even pause. Normally, we have had been told celebrities charge, but Prakashji immediately agreed because the cause is bigger than any of us.” Instituted by four women health experts under the banner of Shuddha™️, The Restore Awards™️ have a global esteemed independent jury to pick out the winners every year. With sponsor partners like Ageas Federal Life Insurance, Tetley, House of Abhinandan Lodha and Metropolis labs, who have made this non-profit cause possible, the number of global nominations this year crossed 2000 and the jury had a tough task in deciding only 11 winners.
Also read: An Action Hero Review: Super fun!
“It was so difficult for us to see all the deserving nominees and choose winners because each one deserves that their story be told,” said Dr Mickey Mehta, one of the jury members. “These awards ensure that people working at the grassroots level who impact mental health are heard via this large-scale initiative.” The awards are broadcast to 300,000 people live across various social media platforms, giving mental health nominees and winners a platform for their impactful work.
Some of the winners include Karan Shah, a 24-year-old wheelchair bound muscular dystrophy patient, who is pushing BMC to make wheelchair friendly toilets in public places. Dr. Deepti Pinto Rosario, a gynaecologist who, after hospital and clinical hours, works hard to spread awareness and dispel myths for women’s health – sexual health, puberty, adolescent health, reproductive years, postpartum, and menopause; and Chaise Freidman, Los Angeles-based warrior who became paralysed neck downwards and within a span of two years, and defied the diagnosis of his doctors that he would never be able to walk again.