Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health with Amy Pravin Shah, Noonies Nominee 2021 by@turbulence

Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health with Amy Pravin Shah, Noonies Nominee 2021

Amy Pravin Shah has been nominated for Noonies 2021: HackerNoon Contributor of the Year - Mental Health. Here is her story.
image
Amy Pravin Shah HackerNoon profile picture

Amy Pravin Shah

Multipotentialite reader and writer. Visit my website at: https://amyshah.live/

github social iconlinkedin social icon

Hey Hackers! I’m Amy Pravin Shah and I’m a psychiatrist and writer.


First of all, a huge thank you to the HackerNoon community and staff for nominating me for a 2021 Noonies award! I’ve been nominated in the following categories please do check out these award pages and vote:


  1. HackerNoon Contributor of the Year - MENTAL-HEALTH: https://noonies.tech/award/2021-hackernoon-contributor-of-the-year-mental-health


As someone in the healthcare industry, I believe that the most exciting technology of the present is social media because of its ability to be both positive and negative for us all emotionally. Learn more about my thoughts and opinions on mental health and my journey in the tech industry via the interview below.


Amy Pravin Shah writes about mental health topics.

Amy Pravin Shah writes about mental health topics.

1. What do you do and why do you do it? (tell us your story)

I currently work as a psychiatrist for adults. I am specializing in working with older adults and addiction medicine. I have been doing this work for over ten years in some capacity. I find helping people to be one of the most rewarding parts of my occupation.


I notice that there is such stigma to talking about mental health problems for many people.


It can be amazing to be a person that can help with mental health disorders because you can provide relief to people who might not have thought there was any help available to them. The work is emotional at times and you can put a lot of yourself into it, so it’s important to have other outlets and hobbies. Taking time out for self-care is important and everyone deserves that.


One of the things I work on outside my job is community service. I am a member of a friendly neighborhood hackerspace. At the hackerspace, I have given free or low-cost workshops and classes about various topics. Some of the things I have taught are how to make bath bombs and how to make lip balm. I have also taught these classes for free at the local library.


In addition to that, I am a volunteer curator of a startup newsletter for Techstars. I help as a volunteer organizer for Startup Weekend in my local area.

2. Tell us more about the things you create / write / manage / build!

During my volunteer work as a Blogging Fellow at Hacker Noon, I have written some articles either focusing on mental health or including a mental health spin. These have widely circulated. It has been amazing to be a Blogging Fellow at Hacker Noon! I have learned a lot from the experience and I would recommend it to others.


Some of the articles I have written include:



In 2017, I have also started a charitable initiative called the #100Hats Project in which I and others make hats and other winter clothing items for people in need. We donate these items to local organizations for distribution for winter.


An example of one of the hats is shown below. I make the items out of crochet and donated yarn. Every hat is unique. I don’t make them with a set pattern, but they turn out well in most cases. It has been very touching to know that making a simple hat can really help someone. This project is still going on through the years and we were able to donate hats throughout the Pandemic.



A donated hat from the #100Hats Project

A donated hat from the #100Hats Project

3. How did you end up on your current career path? Do you like it?

For various reasons, I think this path picked me. During the last 20 years, American attitudes about mental health treatment and self-care have greatly changed. And that is just my personal observation, but what I have noticed is that is becoming more permissible to talk about mental health topics.


For example, college campuses are putting more money towards mental health services for students. That includes medical treatment and psychotherapy, but also self-care practices like meditation and yoga. I really like this direction, but it can be radically improved still in so many ways.


Mental health matters.

Mental health matters.


4. What tech are you most excited or passionate about right now and why?

Social media has the opportunity, even the calling, to bring people together all around the world. I am most excited by its potential to be helpful even as I see the increasing negatives of social media. Social media companies have been able to connect parts of the world and make it easier to keep in touch with others for less expense and time. Family members who would only be able to call each other once a month before because of the expense now can freely video chat every evening. Relationships that previously might be strained by distance and finances are maintained more easily.


All that being said, the clear negative impact of some aspects of social media cannot be ignored. The ambivalence about its nature makes social media fascinating to me.


Social media can bring people together.

Social media can bring people together.

5. What tech are you most worried about right now and why?

I am most concerned about security and privacy and how it will develop in the future. To that end, I have taken classes on information security and talked to cybersecurity professionals. I have educated myself on the basics of cybersecurity knowing that my knowledge really only skims the surface.


I have taken steps to learn more about computer technology and cybersecurity in the last 5 years. I have found that to be one of the better investments of my time and energy because though I do not understand everything, my learning has helped me understand what I do not know.

6. If we gave you 10 million dollars to invest in something today, what would you invest in and why?


If I had 10 million dollars to invest in something today, I think the best use of my investment would be to donate the money to Khan Academy.


During the Pandemic, I took some of the math classes on the Khan Academy website and I found them to be extremely high-quality ways to learn. Khan Academy levels the playing field for young people who might not have money for additional classes outside of school, like Kumon or other tutoring. I was surprised to see that Khan Academy also has an Association of Medical Colleges-backed curriculum for studying for the medical school admission test, MCAT!



Advancing education and encouraging self-teaching would be Shah's areas of investment.

Advancing education and encouraging self-teaching would be Shah's areas of investment.

7. What are you currently learning?

Right now, I am studying psychiatry daily and reviewing my field’s current knowledge. But in addition to that, I am also planning to review math. I have used various resources for my study of math, but Khan Academy was the most entertaining and thorough.



Prototype your ideas, build them, and see them take flight!

Prototype your ideas, build them, and see them take flight!


8. What’s the best advice you’ve ever given someone?

I think the best advice I have ever given anyone was to “Be Yourself and Believe in Yourself” I am not sure if people have always found this to be the most helpful advice for them.


As a psychiatrist, you never know what people really catch on to when you talk to them. What do people remember about the advice I gave? I am never really sure.

9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best teacher in any subject is your personal experience. That includes the mistakes you make. I think in my past people might have given me plenty of advice on a variety of topics, but the best teacher was my personal experience.



Thank you for this lovely interview! Please vote.

Thank you for this lovely interview! Please vote.


About HackerNoon’s 2021 Noonie Awards

The annual Noonie Awards celebrate the best and brightest of the tech industry, bringing together all who are making the Internet and the world of tech what it is today. Please be sure to check out our award categories, nominate, and vote for the people and companies who you think are making the biggest impact on the tech industry today.


The 2021 Noonies are sponsored by: bybit, Dottech Domains, and Avast. Thank you so much to these sponsors who are helping us celebrate the accomplishments of all our nominees.

react to story with heart
react to story with light
react to story with boat
react to story with money
L O A D I N G
. . . comments & more!