We’re entered 2022, yet it’s unfortunate that talking about mental health is still such a stigma in our society and culture. That’s exactly why it’s so important to push for change in the arena. So every voice and every change maker matters. Every person working to change this is significant. Which is what Raj Dagwar, a 23-year-old from Pune is doing at the moment. 

Raj Dagwar offers people a kind, listening ear and pays them ₹10 as an incentive to step forward and talk about their life story. Though, at a glance, this may seem like a temporary relief for some, Dagwar’s initiative to make people feel heard is slowly making a change.

One of the most inspiring parts of his story is that he fought depression in 2019 and as a result, he sought therapy for himself. After this, he decided to fight the stigma. He began standing on Fergusson College Road, Pune, holding a placard with the message ‘Tell me your story & I’ll give you ₹10.’ It seems, his goal was to help people release their pent up negative emotions and thoughts. What a noble initiative! 

All, I do is smile from behind the mask and slowly ask the question, tell me your story. If I can help them relax or ease their thoughts, I feel as if I have achieved one good thing.

-Raj Dagwar told Hindustan Times

This initiative of his has gained a lot of attention since it first began. Raj now has around 6,000 followers, and he has also been recognized and celebrated at the Youth Summit in Satara held last year. Additionally, the 23-year-old is often seen handing roses and giving hugs to the people he talks to (so very cute!). 

We’re glad people are discussing mental health on a larger platform.