The young and the restless are struggling with mental health issues. Incredible as that is, with it comes long-due acceptance of the condition, and surprisingly, it is a conversation starter that leads to dating
As a wise person once said, life ain’t easy and love only makes it harder. Add to it some youth-induced abandon, dating apps offering options dime-a-dozen and a severely imbalanced work-life balance, and what you have is a fairly complicated situation with which to contend. How can
anyone be expected to have their lives sorted amidst all this? Ah! What a tough time it is to be young!
Don’t blame me for being the bearer of bad news but things are headed in an even more tortuous direction now. As the world grapples with both the fast-eroding mental health of people everywhere, and the subject permeating every aspect of our existence, Cupid, too, seems struck by complications.
Yes, mental health has now officially entered the realm of modern-day dating. As per a survey conducted earlier this year by dating app Hinge, 85 percent of the people surveyed admitted they were more likely to go on a second date with someone going to therapy. Additionally, 97 percent of them said they’d rather date someone who actively takes care of their mental health.
Basically, the more you go for therapy, the more you’ll get laid. How’s that for some motivation to start taking care of your mental health?
I was first introduced to this new phenomenon by a dear friend from Mumbai, and one of Bollywood’s most clutter-breaking new-age filmmakers. While working on his most recent project, one that’s been in the making for a long, long time and starring two recently-married
real-life lovers, he took to therapy, partly to cope with work stress and partly to deal with heartbreak after his relationship with a controversial writer went kaput. While the verdict is still out on whether therapy worked for him mentally, there’s no doubt that it certainly made him a lot more desirable. “The moment I tell a prospective date that I’m going for therapy, they almost always want to get to know me better. It’s
like therapy is the aphrodisiac I never knew I needed!”
He’s not the only one. Most of the serial daters I know across the country have recently witnessed a shift in the way their matches perceive therapy. A few years ago, they would’ve been called ‘damaged’. Now, they’re a catch!
“It shows that you’re vulnerable, not in denial and willing to do the work. What’s not to like!” One can always trust Shalini Sharma (name changed) to keep it honest, and to the point. As one-half of one of India’s most loved fashion designer duos, she’s au courant with not just the newest trends in fashion but also the changing silhouettes of dating. “I’d much rather date someone who goes to therapy than someone who’s still refusing to acknowledge that they need help, you know.”
Mental health isn’t just a talk-point anymore; and rightly so. Like our bodies, our minds too can get sick and need to be treated. As our lives become more complex by the second, the stigma around mental health issues is slowly but surely lifting. In the bigger cities, at least, more and more people are taking to therapy. They’d rather get treated and move on and not remain stuck in a limbo. Young people, in particular, are taking to therapy in far bigger numbers than previous generations.
“Almost everyone is going to therapy, whether they admit to it or not. The chances of finding someone on an app who isn’t doing so are slim!” When Megha Mehta (name changed), one of advertising’s most revered names, told me this, I knew it was official. After all, she’s never not spot-on about her reading of the young. “And when everyone around is doing something, it’s odd to date someone who isn’t!”
As per WHO estimates, back in 2020, approximately 56 million Indians were suffering from depression and around 38 million people had anxiety-related disorders. Obviously, that number has gone up since. And during the pandemic, in particular, the number of people who sought mental health aid also went up. Delhi-based I Will Therapy, an online therapy specialist company, for instance, saw a 65 percent increase in their sessions in the months of May and June 2020 alone.
So yes, if you’re young and actively dating, the odds of meeting someone in therapy are higher than ever before. And those who are working on their mental health quite obviously are looking to date those who are also cognizant of it. To sum it up, therapy is the new Tinder. Sign up or sign out!
Who Am I?
Think of me as someone who knows the minds, hearts and bedrooms of the young Indian today. I have a social life across cities that allows me access to coveted parties, people and positions (pun absolutely intended!). Through this column, I aim to keep you abreast of how the young people of India go about their personal lives. I promise to keep it honest and to-the-point. No judgements, no prudishness.