The Yellow Wallpaper Diaries: Women & Mental Health – By Shreya Patel

The Yellow Wallpaper diaries are written by the team behind Bygone Theatre’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, and provide additional context and resources for the show.

Mental health is something that affects all of us, regardless of our gender or background. However, women often face unique challenges when it comes to mental health due to various social, cultural, and biological factors. 

As a woman, I understand firsthand the pressures we face in our daily lives. From juggling work and family responsibilities to dealing with societal expectations, it can be challenging to find the time and energy to take care of ourselves. But I’ve learned that prioritizing my mental health is crucial for my overall well-being, and there are certain habits and tools that have helped me maintain good mental health. Let me share a few below: 

1. Connect with others 

One of the most effective ways to maintain good mental health is to connect with others. Social support can significantly impact our mental health and well-being. I always say sharing can be so healing. We can benefit from spending time with family and friends, joining social groups, or volunteering for a cause we believe in. Talking to a therapist or a mental health professional can also provide a safe space to discuss concerns and receive support. 

2. Practice self-care 

Self-care is crucial for mental health and well-being. We should prioritize self-care activities that make us feel good, such as taking a relaxing bath, reading a book, practicing mindfulness or meditation, or going for a walk in nature. Adequate sleep, healthy eating, and regular exercise can also boost mental health and overall well-being. 

3. Learn to manage stress 

Stress is a common cause of mental health problems, and we often face unique stressors, such as juggling work and family responsibilities or dealing with societal expectations. Learning to manage stress effectively can significantly improve mental health. We can try various stress-reduction techniques, such as deep breathing, yoga, or journaling. It is also essential to set boundaries and learn to say no to avoid overcommitting oneself. 

4. Engage in activities that bring joy 

Engaging in activities that bring joy and meaning to life can boost mental health and overall well-being. We should pursue hobbies, interests, or creative endeavors that make them happy, whether it’s painting, playing music, or learning a new language. Doing things that bring joy can reduce stress and provide a sense of fulfillment. 

5. Seek professional help 

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, mental health problems can arise. It is essential to seek professional help when needed. We should not hesitate to reach out to mental health professionals or their healthcare provider for support. Early intervention and treatment can prevent mental health problems from becoming severe and improve the chances of recovery. 

In conclusion, as women, we face unique challenges when it comes to mental health. However, by adopting habits and utilizing effective tools like connecting with others, practicing self-care, managing stress, engaging in activities that bring joy, and seeking professional help when needed, we can maintain good mental health and prioritize our overall well-being. 

By Shreya Patel, Associate Producer, The Yellow Wallpaper

BIO: Shreya Patel is a multifaceted individual, who has made a significant impact in the worlds of entertainment, activism, and mental health advocacy. Model-turned-actress, filmmaker and mental health advocate, Patel is the honoree of Top 100 Most Powerful Women of Canada, Forbes 30 Under 30, Women’s Achiever Award, Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award and Emerging Leader Under 35. Patel has been acknowledged for her efforts in advancing equity in her community, with an honorable mention from the City of Toronto. She was also listed among DissDash’s “Top 50 Coolest South Asians of 2021” alongside notable figures such as Priyanka Chopra, Kamala Harris, and Hasan Minaj. She has also graced the pages of fashion magazines like Vogue and Grazia. As an actress, she has brought raw emotion and depth to her roles in films like Strangers In A Room, Vivid, and The Intersection, which explore themes of mental health. Patel’s debut documentary, ‘Girl Up’, is an unflinching look at the reality of domestic human trafficking and was partnered with the Toronto International Film Festival and the Civic Action Summit. Her music video directorial debut, Freedom Dance, which featured famous personalities from 7 countries, has over 1.2 million views on YouTube. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, she rallied 66 countries to come together for Unity- #LOVESPREADS Faster Than Virus, a documentary that showcases the plight of the human spirit, which was the closing film at the Munich Film Festival. As one of the faces of the Canadian Screen Award-winning national mental health awareness campaign “Bell Let’s Talk”, Patel is committed to raising visibility and breaking the silence around mental illness and support. Currently, she is working on a comedy series, Layla is Relevant and writing a film about trafficking while also producing various projects under her company, Window Dreams Productions.


Author: BygoneTheatre

Bygone Theatre was founded as a collective in October of 2012, and became an incorporated not-for-profit company in October of 2015. Our mandate is to produce theatre written or set in the early 20th century, focusing on historical aspects in design and incorporating a classic cinema aesthetic. ​ In 2019 Bygone Theatre was nominated for 14 Broadway World Toronto Awards, including Best Community Theatre and Best Play (Equity). We took home a total of 5 awards, 4 of which were for The Rear Window, including Best Direction of a Play (Equity); Best Original Lighting Design; Best Leading Actor (Play, Equity); and Best Featured Actress (Play, Equity). We took a hiatus our 2020/21 season because of the COVID19 pandemic, and used that time to develop our charitable initiatives. In August of 2021 we were nominated for the Toronto Star Readers' Choice Award for Best Live Theatre. Part of our mission involves inclusion and accessibility, and we strive to allow artists of all backgrounds and levels of experience the chance to have hands-on experience in whatever capacity they are most interested in; this has included youth outreach programs for high school students interested in production design, and acting opportunities for those who have never performed onstage.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: