Dr. Neha Mehta is a registered Psychologist who is vocal about the importance of mental health, child psychology, and relationships. She understands and roots for establishing the importance of mental health in everyday life. In addition to her professional engagements, Dr. Neha Mehta is also an influencer, Youtuber, and founder of ‘myfitbrain.’ The psychologist is also a parenting expert, travel enthusiast, and Lifestyle Guru.
Dr. Neha Mehta is a RIC registered psychologist and is more into marital, sexual, and child-related issues. She has over eleven years of experience and is affiliated with American Psychological Association and NIMHANS, where only registered psychologists can practice. Dr. Neha Mehta has trained over five hundred interns and psychologists and is also associated with many Universities in India. In addition, the influencer has over a million followers on YouTube and Facebook and around 100K flowers on Instagram.
ICY Tales is in conversation with Dr. Neha Mehta, who talks about her experience and journey as a psychologist.
Q. What motivated you to join this profession?
Dr. Neha Mehta: I was a medical student, but I had to leave my medical education in between due to some family issues and could not take it further. Following that, I faced some psychological problems; including depression; that is when I met my mentor, who made it clear to me that everyone is not born for the things that they see for themselves in the future; sometimes, life gives you a different take.
After this, I did my double bachelor’s and master’s: I took psychology, read about it, and completed my Ph.D. From there, I met some doctors who made me talk about marriage, sex, parenting, and children, and that’s how my journey into psychology started. During my trip, I discovered that psychologists in India are not being given the place they deserve because they are not much known.
It must be understood very clearly that the right psychologists or therapists possess the certification to practice. In addition, many coaches and motivational speakers have the right degree or experience but do indulge in providing help. So I tried my best to go into that and be part of this industry.
Q. What is your suggestion to tackle today’s stressful lifestyles?
Dr. Neha Mehta: I believe it happens with everyone; even if one is a psychologist, that does not mean they don’t have any negative emotions or stress in their lives. Lifestyle today has transcended into the space where more mental work is involved than physical work; today, if someone does 10 KM cycling, people are stunned, but it’s also true that earlier, people indulged in more rigorous physical work than mental workouts.
So I request that everyone who wants to fight mental distress must balance their mental and physical workouts. Depending on one or popping in medicines won’t help; balancing natural and synthetic factors will only bring you mental peace and relaxation. So divide your time, and set boundaries for your work, family, reading, your self-development, and workout, so equally dividing your time will keep you stress-free and make your lifestyle inspiring for others.
Q. What is the key to a smooth marital relationship?
Dr. Neha Mehta: I think the key to a smooth marital relationship is communication; clear communication is very important. While dealing with matrimonial disputes, we get the personality of the couples assessed; we identify the areas on which they need to work and guide them with the same. But sometimes we find out that the problem is a lack of communication. In our society, the inherent advice that is given from the in-law’s side or own family side is to adjust!
It is conventionally taught that one should adjust according to what the partner says. It’s okay to adapt and adjust to make a relationship run smoothly, but the problem here is we don’t communicate that when we don’t like something. Each one of us has our limitations, and eventually, there will be a moment when you will be frustrated with your personality, which would lead to a bitter relationship. So I would suggest please communicate what you like and dislike even in bed, in the market, or while dealing with in-laws or parenting; this open and clear communication shall give you a very happy marriage.
Adapting, adjusting, and compromising are necessary to make any relationship work, but if you feel suffocated or are no longer the original person you were, give yourself some time. Every relationship undergoes varied transitional phases, but in the transition process, do not lose yourself; take some time out for yourself; completely changing yourself will surely ruin you, your kids, and your future. So work on this mindfully.
Q. With the early exposure to digital media, how important is it for the present generation of kids to get sex education?
Dr. Neha Mehta: In the present day scenario, when hormones are working up early, there are various kinds of media exposure; for a child from 8 years onwards, it is normal to learn about sex and sex education. For parents who feel disturbed or violated when kids ask about this or somebody in their school talks about this which they do not appreciate, please adapt and understand that it is normal; it is better, your child learns from you about these rather than learning from any third person, who might give wrong information or partial information that might further make them more curious about it.
One must understand that telling or talking about sex is not bad, each of us grows through a phase, student life, career, and then family life, so it can be communicated with the kids by rationalizing the importance of time and age concerning this. Sex education is very important and must be done with the right words and without fear or awkwardness; otherwise, there is no point in communicating about it.
In today’s e-media world, you cannot hide it from children; no matter how hard you try, it’s better to communicate and tell them that this would be happening because if you won’t, somebody else might. So please talk and spread awareness among kids.
Q. How should adults talk about good touch/bad touch with the kids? What’s the best way?
Dr. Neha Mehta: I think the best way to talk about good touch and bad touch is; schools have to start it, and it has to start from age 04 years onwards, don’t wait for the child to grow and start reading in any specific standard before you start talking about it. Because sexual attempts or something similar has been observed to jump from three, three, and half years of age, it is very important that your child knows what is good and bad.
Teachers have to start it, and parents must create a comfortable space for their children so that they can come to share anything with them. So for the safety of the children, it must be taught to them as early as possible.
Q. How do childhood traumas influence later life? What do you recommend to deal with that?
Dr. Neha Mehta: Childhood traumas form a stronger base for a negative personality or an anti-social personality; in such cases, either the child will enter into the doom of negativity and consider themselves unworthy of anything due to their failures, or they develop the mindset of hurting people, i.e., called the juvenile cases.
So childhood traumas are based on one’s personality; childhood is the time when an individual forms an identity for themselves; don’t be a helicopter parent and entrust every responsibility of the child to own self, nor don’t be an ignorant parent too because these traumas will build how the child will treat life, later on, especially people around them.
Q. As a domain expert in psychology, in your opinion, how can individuals play a role in mitigating the trauma the LGBTQ+ community faces daily?
Dr. Neha Mehta: The first step is knowing what ‘The LGBTQ+ community is and accepting them. Even in our field, I have seen a psychologist who does not take up these cases, and some don’t even know about the community; they want to accept that this is a normal phenomenon and one cannot change it. I still have my colleagues or interns working with some patients whose parents had approached them to make their kids normal,’ and some even charge money for administering therapy to convert or cure them.
Accepting the community people the way they are, knowing them, and without their consent giving them therapies trying to change their identities needs to stop. In my opinion, psychologists dealing with such cases must either have expert-level understanding and knowledge or deny taking up such cases instead to a lack of domain knowledge. So, first of all, it is very important to be of the human self and accept that they are humans and exist. The only way to give the community love, affection, and acceptance is to be aware of ourselves.
Q. What advice do you have for someone battling mental health issues?
Dr. Neha Mehta: Acceptance; first, accept that you have the problem, and trust me, mental health problems are not something to be ashamed of; they are as equal to your physical problem, so if you have it, research about it, not about its complications but about the issue and then talk to someone in whom you can confide to and start taking treatment.
The second most important thing is that treatment in itself will not work if you do not work for yourself; try doing physical exercises, get out, give yourself some time, journal, and for that matter, do anything you like. But until you give your efforts, the medicine will not help. Supplementing drugs and therapy would help, and mental health issues are not something from which you cannot recover. It all depends on how much effort you put in.
Q. How can the importance of mental health be established in our everyday lives?
Dr. Neha Mehta: Everybody has to understand what psychology is; people surround us all, and people are made up of minds and behavior. Everyday knowledge of psychology is important, so lately, media has been focusing on its importance through shows. If you start knowing your mind and analyzing the reasons behind your behavior, you will start thinking like a psychologist.
As a domain expert, Dr. Neha Mehta beautifully talks about the nexus our mind has with our everyday activities and emphasizes the importance of physical activities, interaction with people, and a self-driven attitude that is crucial in the fight against mental health issues.