Updated: Sep 7, 2021
As a 15-year-old, I did not know much about mental health or empathy, but one night I learnt it accidentally,” recalls Satvik Sethi, a mental health advocate from India. “It’s 10:50pm, I’m studying for my last exam and suddenly a message pops up in the top right corner of my screen. ‘I want to die.’
It’s an old friend, we don’t talk anymore, but he knows I’ll listen. Unlike everyone else who’s probably already told him not to kill himself, I just reply with, ‘Why?’ 200 messages of hating on his life, his family, his exes, the weather, school, teachers, math, he thanks me and goes back to sleep with a smile on his face; I might just have saved someone's life tonight and all it took was a little empathy that gave someone hope.
Checking in on your friends and family every now and then, giving someone a shoulder to cry on, listening to someone’s stories; all these acts can make a difference, and make the world happier. Satvik shared their story as part of The Empathy & Hope Project, an immersive art exhibition on the impact of our social environments on the health of our minds.
Chapter 2 of this traveling exhibition was hosted in Durban, South Africa from 12 March - 03 May 2020, featuring photographic artworks by Thabiso Sekgala, Lindokuhle Sobekwa, Witness Change & a Refugee Centre in Durban.