Humans of TU Delft: Sabahat Shaikh

Some people are afraid to talk about mental health issues. Biomedical engineering Master’s student Sabahat Shaikh is not one of them.

Sabahat Shaikh decided to make short videos about depression and post them online. (Photo: Heather Montague)

 “I was first affected by depression when I was about 15. I realised that no one around me was talking about it. Even now when people talk about mental health, they do it in a quiet corner or something as if they are ashamed to talk about it. I tried searching online for people to talk to because I didn’t want to feel alone. But I didn’t find much and that was disappointing.

In India there’s still a big stigma surrounding this, everywhere really. That was really frustrating and I was thinking, am I alone, am I the only one who feels this way? I know other people who have mental health issues and I just felt like if nobody else is going to talk about it then I will.

So, I decided to make these short videos and post them online just to put it out there that you are not alone. Even if you don’t find a single person around you who wants to talk about it, you can watch me talk about it and know that you’re not the only one. I just felt like the most basic thing I could do is just put stuff out there.

‘I want to start a support group for students on campus’

I wish someone else would have done something like that when I was younger. I was ashamed of everything that I was thinking and feeling. I think the hardest thing I ever did was talk to my parents about my depression. I come from a very supporting family, and they really try to understand what I’m going through. I feel lucky because my parent’s generation didn’t talk about these things.

I think that the more you talk to others, the better you feel. Just knowing that you’re not alone in what you feel is so important. Especially in the student culture, because it’s very competitive and everyone’s trying to do the best they can. When I came to Delft, I expected more people to be open about mental health, but they weren’t.

I’m satisfied with what I’m doing, but there is so much more I want to do in relation to this. There are a lot of students who experience depression and anxiety. I really want to start a support group for students on campus. I think students tend to understand what other students are going through and could be a great support system. I think that would really help.”

Sabahat Shaikh started a Youtube channel about mental health.

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Heather Montague / Freelance writer

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