April 03, 2020
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Sanjay Chugh

The Delhi-based psychiatrist on his book, Sexuality and Human Relationships

Sanjay Chugh
Can agony aunt columns solve mental health/relationship problems?
They cannot help solve your problems, only enable you to talk to a specialist anonymously. I do not even pretend to solve their problems.

What's the purpose of having them then?
It helps in the identification of a problem, to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Aren't circumstantial details important before giving advice which may otherwise do more harm?
We only give guidelines. I also believe in the universality of problems.

As a trained psychiatrist, don't you feel a column trivialises your calling?
Not at all. It is making consulting a psychiatrist acceptable.

Why did you feel the need to compile your columns into a book?
I wanted to reach out to a much larger audience. As a newspaper columnist you are restricted to a fixed set of readers

Is your site the most interactive in the world, as you claim?
We have everything under one umbrella, yet we go into the minutest details.

What's the most common form of mental stress faced by urban Indians?
Relationships are the single largest cause of unhappiness.

Has it always been this way or is it due to an increasingly fast-paced life?
It probably was always this way but it's increased now. Human contact is more superficial which is why problems have become more magnified. Relationships have been undermined and there is a denial mode.

And the antidote...
The first step is to get out of the denial mode, which is what the site and my book is about.

Why's the quality of mental healthcare so dismal in India?
Mainly due to the stigma attached to it. Even I faced it when I decided to become a psychiatrist. There are just about 2,000 psychiatrists for some 10-crore active mentally-ill patients in India. But things are now changing.

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