Aksheyaa Akilan is prominently working in the mental health domain and is a practicing therapist herself. She did her bachelor’s in psychology and her diploma in special education for children with learning disabilities. Along with that Aksheyaa did her master’s in human rights. After her master’s she did her post-graduation diploma in counseling and psychology.
She is currently running 5 companies. Aksheyaa grew up with dyslexia which is a great reason she works in this field and is a global health and rights advocate. At the same time, she also worked at the United Nations human rights commission for the rights of persons with disability and also worked at World Health Organization (WHO) in Global Coordination Mechanism for non-communicable diseases and mental health.
Icy Tales is in conversation with Aksheyaa Akilan on her journey and a lot more.
Q) How did you become involved in this type of work?
Aksheyaa Akilan– When I did my Bachelor’s and Master’s in psychology and human rights, I instantly knew that my field of work would not be a conventional field that most people take up. And as someone who was diagnosed with dyslexia, I had to take special education so I knew this was something I needed to work on.
I wanted to ease things for people like me, in simpler terms I didn’t want them to face the same issues that I went through during my childhood. So, this is the reason that I am in the field that I am in, and also this is the reason I am impacting so many people that I am impacting.
Q) According to you which human rights are currently most susceptible to threats?
Aksheyaa Akilan– There are numerous human rights that are susceptible to threats. But If I need to name one then it is our right to a proper environment and clean air. This is the most basic and most susceptible to threat, we need to make sure that climate change does not accelerate. As a youth who is going to be inheriting the planet, I think the right to a clean environment is the most severe threat right now.
Q) What inspires you to continue working for social change?
Aksheyaa Akilan– The fact that so much change needs to occur is the one reason that keeps me going. An endless number of problems exist in our society that needs to be fixed starting from our mindset about so many different things and many more. The change is not going to happen if I just sit around and wait for someone to make it happen rather I need to gather myself and start giving my contribution towards that change, Therefore I chose to be someone to bring that change.
Q) What are some of the approaches and methods you use in your therapies?
Aksheyaa Akilan– I work with minimal clients rather I have therapists working under me who conduct therapy sessions. We practice an eclectic approach while working with our clients; each therapist has specialization and capacity. I practice cognitive behavioral therapy and client-centered humanistic approaches. Also, I am trained in trauma counseling, relationship counseling, and teaching children with learning disabilities.
Q) What are some of the problems you faced in your journey?
Aksheyaa Akilan– First of all, my field is so diverse starting from mental health, human rights, and sustainability, most people are not even aware that one can even work in this field so the lack of awareness makes it very difficult to do events and workshops. When I ask that I want to conduct a mental health workshop people assume it to be a workshop for crazy people so that is a significant issue.
Secondly getting funding is also a very significant issue and additionally tapping schools, colleges, and companies to conduct these workshops and other events is also very difficult. Also, our society is not ready to accept me as a 25-year-old girl running so many organizations they all look at me in a very skeptical way, It is not easy to fight through all of these issues but I am giving my best.
Q) What kind of lifestyle changes can help with symptoms of mental health disorders?
Aksheyaa Akilan– It depends on the disorder itself and I can’t prescribe a general solution to it. If I had to say then something that can help is understanding what your body needs and what your body wants in terms of water intake, exercise, food, self-care time, and a lot of other things.
Q) What should we do when we notice the symptom of mental health disorder?
Aksheyaa Akilan– The first thing that you should do is go and consult a mental health professional because they would be able to tell you what exactly you should do for a particular symptom and they would be able to diagnose you with the issue if at all. In case of a panic attack, you can’t snap and make it stop. What you can do is learn to be there for the person who is experiencing it. Moreover, it also depends on the person who is going through that and how she or he gets calm.
Q) How does a person know that he needs therapy?
Aksheyaa Akilan– Mental health is defined in a very interesting way and it is said that a person is mentally well if they can do their everyday activities, manage their stress, contribute to society meaningfully, and do other things. Also, the issue need not be a major one it can be a tiny inconvenience that one can desire certain help to overcome.
Aksheyaa Akilan is also a global youth ambassador in a UK company called Their world. She is the founder of Hibiscus counseling which works for the mental well-being of corporates, families, and other individuals. Additionally, she also owns Hibiscus Foundation which is an NGO, it works in the field of mental health, human rights, and sustainability for people who are not financially well off.
\Another company she runs is Blue Silicon Infotech which works in producing different tech products and services. Aksheyaa is also the managing director of Question cloud which is an assessment and education portal, the motive of this was to make education more accessible. Last but not the least, Aksheyaa is also the founder of Job Link, which is a company that essentially works to employ youth.