The Department of Psychology at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Vanita Vishram Women’s University hosted PSYNAPSE 2023, the second psychology fest in Surat. Through entertaining and engaging activities, the event attempted to bridge the gap between society and Mental Health and to promote better Mental Health.
On 17th February 2023, the first-ever Psychology fest conducted in Surat in 2019 is finally back after a three-year break. Organised by the Department of Psychology of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Vanita Vishram Women’s University, the Psychology fest – PSYNAPSE – saw students, teachers, parents, and professionals explore the subject of Psychology to the hilt.
The fest aimed to bridge the gap between society and Mental Health and raise awareness about Mental Health issues through fun and interactive games, dance-drama, mindfulness activities, and much more.
PSNAPSE 2019 – The Origin
One of the most important but controversial topics has always been Mental Health. Regrettably, a lack of social acceptance and Mental Health understanding prevents people from getting assistance when they most need it. 2019’s first Psychology festival in Surat was inspired by the desire to raise awareness of Mental Health problems and build support for individuals with mental illness.
As Surat’s first-ever Psychology festival, PSYNAPSE 2019, held by the Department of Psychology, then Sheth P.T. Mahila College of Arts and Home Science, was a huge success. To make PSYNAPSE 2019 special, students from all BA Psychology classes put in many hours of preparation. The festival was attended by women, students, and professionals from around Surat, and PSNAPSE 2019 saw a footfall of almost 1600 people.
Hopes of attending a subsequent PSYNAPSE were dwindling as the virus spread and educational facilities were closed. However, Dr. Aditya Farsole, the department head, and his students didn’t give up hope, and after three whole years, they returned with a bang!
PSYNAPSE 2023 – The Legacy
The Department of Psychology, (now) School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Vanita Vishram Women’s University, hosted PSYNAPSE 2023, the second Psychology fest. This time around, no punches were held – more activities, a larger venue, and an even larger audience. It was indeed a magical event.
The Psychology students worked together to make PSYNAPSE 2023 a bigger and better event while preserving the core of what PSYNAPSE was founded with. To ensure the success of PSYNAPSE 2023, more than 300 students volunteered and spent a month getting ready for this day.
Since the goal of PSYNAPSE is to bridge the gap between cultural ideals and Mental Health, the activities centred around engagingly learning psychological concepts. In addition, there were human blogs that talked about a variety of Mental Health topics.
In order to make learning even easier and more efficient, studies meant to teach psychological principles were turned into games. The Tower of Hanoi, Miller’s Magic, Muller Lyer’s experiment of optical illusions, Maze learning experiment to understand latent learning, the Twister game to understand the Stroop effect, and many other concepts were presented during the Psychology fest.
Mindfulness, emotional regulation, and behaviour are the trifectas that encompass Mental Health. So, to bring awareness about these concepts, games such as Wheel of Emotion, Wheel of Self-Awareness, Mental Jenga, and others were created by Psychology students.
The trifectas of mindfulness, emotion regulation, and healthy habits comprise mental wellness. Hence, Psychology students developed games like Wheel of Emotion, Wheel of Self-Awareness, Mental Jenga, and others to raise awareness of these ideas.
You cannot achieve happiness and calm if you don’t let go of your anxieties. And the ‘We Purple You’ team urged the audience to do just that. During PSYNAPSE 2023, a novel idea was presented in which fears were written down, crumpled, and placed in a box to get a sweet and uplifting message from the universe. Again, the psychodrama technique of Magic Shop influenced it.
The Psychology fest not only assisted people in learning about psychological theories and experiments and finding peace, but the students also set up a stall to help the next generation interested in a career in Psychology.
Women’s empowerment will undoubtedly be highlighted at a women-only gathering at a women’s college. And PSYNAPSE 2023 didn’t let anyone down. Women’s hardships in various stages of life, including childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age, were explained through stalls like O Womaniya!
To add to the fun of the Psychology fest, recreational events, including dance dramas, poetry readings, and face painting, were held to add to the Psychology fest’s fun. In addition, to mark the occasion, a photo booth with psychologically themed props was set up, and many people took advantage of it and truly enjoyed it.
The Psychology department students organised several pre-psynapse events to promote Mental Health awareness. Extempore, t-shirt making, photo hunt, producing reels, digital arts, and Mental Health quizzes were just a few of the competitions that took place physically and online as part of the events. In addition, they planned a walkathon to combat the stigma associated with Mental Health.
Last but not least, to show their appreciation to the audience, the volunteers erected a Gratitude Wall, which the crowd filled with messages of love and support for PSYNAPSE 2023.
Fests play a crucial role in raising awareness of societal issues by providing an enjoyable setting for learning and understanding. And with PSYNAPSE 2023, we are one step closer to removing the stigma around mental illness and bridging the gap between society and Mental Health.