Remembering Goa

I’ve been back in Michigan for about 3 weeks now but it seems like parts of me are still left behind in Goa. I think about all this fellowship has provided me with this summer from the chance to travel half way around the world and live independently in another community, to that fact that I got to hands-on experience in the field what I hope will become a very big part of my future career. While at Sangath, I learned not only about global mental health, but also a lot about myself and where I can fit into the future solution of bridging the treatment gap.

Throughout the internship I had valuable mentors that could provide me with guidance and support, a whole host of coworkers that were engaged and connected with the community and who could show me the parts of Goa that are often hidden behind the façade of being a tourist destination, and a talented and diverse cohort of interns that shared my passion to be a part of the solution. This internship not only opened my eyes to the gaps and ignorance of my own knowledge about mental health care in low and middle income countries, but it also allowed me to see how innovation plays into solving problems in countries that may not have the necessary funds or resources to care for their population. More specifically, I learned that I had a lot of skill gaps and knowledge gaps in the field of public health and this internship allowed me to understand that a lot of my learning will be done outside of classrooms and in communities that are facing these challenges everyday.

Sitting at home as I write this, I realize how much I miss Sangath, the friends I made there, and the vibrant city of Calangute that I called home this summer. I hope that someday I can go back, but until then I am so incredibly grateful that I could complete this journey as it is definitely something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

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Neha Tiwari

Neha is a Junior with a major in International Studies: Global Environment and Health, and a minor in Biochemistry. She hopes to pursue a career in public health and medicine with a focus on health equity and mental health. Neha will be spending three months in Goa working with Sangath, an NGO dedicated to improving health by empowering existing community resources to provide appropriate physical, psychological, and social therapies. Neha's final research project will explore the effectiveness of the integration of community-based lay counseling in a traditional mental health treatment program.

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