Dr. Harshil J. Shah,
MBBS, MD Psychiatry
Dr. Harshil J. Shah, MBBS, MD Psychiatry

Journey to Emotional Wellness: Dr. Harshil J. Shah's Roadmap to a Balanced Psyche (Part-1)

An account of Dr. Harshil J. Shah's professional journey, experiences, and success.

Welcome to Docscopy section of MedBound Times.

Priya Bairagi (MedBound handle: @Priya Bairagi), Himani Negi (MedBound handle: @Himani Negi) and Disha Khobragade (MedBound handle: @Disha Khobragade) had an opportunity to have an exciting conversation with with Dr. Harshil J. Shah (MedBound handle: @ Dr. Harshil J. Shah) consultant psychiatrist (senior resident), to delve into the intricacies of the human mind and the ever-evolving field of mental health.

Dr. Harshil J. Shah completed his MBBS from GMERS Medical College, Gandhinagar, Gujarat in 2019, followed by MD Psychiatry from B.J Medical College and Civil Hospital in 2023.

He is currently serving as a senior resident at B.J Medical College and Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad, India.


Hello Sir, and welcome to this DocScopy session with MedBound Times. Please tell us something about your professional life.

Dr. Harshil J. Shah: I'm Dr. Harshil Shah. I hold an MBBS and MD Psychiatry. I completed my MBBS from GMERS Medical College, Gandhinagar, Gujarat in 2019 and followed by MD Psychiatry from B.J Medical College and Civil Hospital in 2023. Currently, I hold the position of Senior Resident at B.J Medical College and Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad.

What I think is before going into any branch, or before taking any steps, the most important question is 'why,' right? You have to ask yourself why you are going into this. If you have that answer for your 'why,' then you basically have a strong desire or a strong drive to go for that.
Dr. Harshil J. Shah

Was pursuing an MBBS degree your personal choice, or was it something that was imposed on you due to societal or familial expectations?

Dr. Harshil J. Shah: Yeah, actually, it was not my choice to be very honest. I even got good scores in 11th and 12th grades. I was in a dilemma, whether to take MBBS or BDS, as I wasn't actually aware of what I wanted at that time. But what I feel is that one should not completely follow a path just because everyone else is taking it. Now, down the line, I don't regret my choice actually. But yeah, I would not say that everything should be solely merit-based. For instance, if you're meant for BDS but you have the scores for MBBS, and you're being pushed towards MBBS, you should be able to choose BDS if your heart is in it. That's what I believe. So, while starting, I did not know much and was not aware of what I wanted, but now I don't regret my choice, to be honest.


What are your thoughts on the trend of students taking multiple years off to prepare for medical entrance exams like NEET, considering the high fees of private colleges and the uncertainty of success, and what do you believe is a reasonable time period for pursuing such preparation before considering alternative career options?

Dr. Harshil J. Shah: Yeah, actually, what I think is before going into any branch, or before taking any steps, the most important question is 'why,' right? You have to ask yourself why you are going into this. If you have that answer for your 'why,' then you basically have a strong desire or a strong drive to go for that. Like after my MBBS, I had a strong drive to do something for mental health, etc. So, I was much more dedicated to this because I had my answer.

I wasn't just following other peers because they were doing it, so I was also doing it. I was more motivated for this. So, what I feel is that you should ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing, and after that, you should go into that. And what I feel is that this is definitely going towards that act of starting PG classes from the very beginning and all that is creating unnecessary stress among students also. Because what I feel is like, as you said, in the sixth standard.

Well, I personally don't know whether NEET classes actually started in sixth grade or not, but it might be. Those kids are actually not even aware of what they want, what MBBS is, and what the course entails. They are just dragging along. So, I don't think that's a good thing. It's really crazy, the amount of competition and the weight that is rising. I'm not discouraging, but you should ask yourself why you are choosing this step.

And just one thing, yeah. I know many people. They have this scenario where one of the family members is a doctor, a successful doctor, and they have a big hospital or clinic, and they're driving two, three cars, etc. So, they get this mentality that if I do this, even I will reach that stage. But the thing is, when you go into the course, when you pursue it, and when you do your MD, there are, after completing your MD, a couple of doctors who are still struggling. A majority of them are struggling. So, when you go into that system, only then you realize what type of hard work and all it takes. So, I think one should do the full research on why you want this if you're going into that. If you're diving into that, what it is bringing for you.

People used to take a gap year for MD, and I also took one, but nowadays, the way people are taking for MBBS is new thing.

Yeah, exactly. For NEET, they took 2-3 drops, and after that, they drop for PG also. But you know, there is no definite answer, what I feel is. Because it obviously varies; it is based on a person-to-person. If, let's say, you have this strong desire that, no, I want to do this. So, I think the number of drops won't matter to you that much compared to someone else who is not that much motivated. You're getting, so there is no definite answer of you should take one, you should take two. Because the thing is, even if you take a drop, you can do some job or some alternate source of income you can generate after MBBS.

So, I have seen that many people took 4 years, many people took one year. But it completely varies as per the person.

Dr. Harshil J. Shah
Dr. Harshil J. Shah

What inspired your decision to pursue an MD in Psychiatry? Were there specific incidents or experiences that led you to choose this field of medicine?

Dr. Harshil J. Shah: Yeah, initially I was not sure about it, but since my MBBS, I got this inclination towards psychiatry. Definitely, there was one personal reason; when I went through stress from 11th to 12th grade, it really took a toll on me. I realized how much mental health matters. It's something I experienced, and what I've realized over time is that people often tend to give more importance to physical health.

If they have a headache or fever, they will immediately consult a physician. But they don't give that much importance to mental health. That's something I believe should change. So, what I believe is that people are also stigmatized towards mental health and psychiatry, like calling someone a 'crazy' doctor or something like that. So, it was very difficult to work in this field. People hesitate to consult a psychiatrist, thinking they might be seen as 'crazy.' That's a common misconception.

They don't realize that even depression can affect anyone. It can affect normally highly intellectual individuals as well. But that doesn't mean they are 'crazy.' Seeking treatment can actually help them move forward in a much better state, whatever they are pursuing. Even chronic mental illnesses like long-term depression can lead to physical symptoms. So, it's not just physical symptoms that are important; mental health is equally important.

That's why I think addressing mental health is crucial. There might be a trend of increasing patients, especially in psychiatric care. Additionally, there's often a good work-life balance compared to other specializations. That was my plan.

From the Instagram of Dr. Harshil J. Shah(the_mentalhealthdoc)
From the Instagram of Dr. Harshil J. Shah(the_mentalhealthdoc)

In your Instagram post, you mentioned that suppressing mental problems can result in increased aggression. Could you provide more insight into this idea and how it applies in the context of mental health?

Dr. Harshil J. Shah: Yes, you see, mental illness has a very wide spectrum. So, compared to mental illness, the suppression of mental issues is just a small matter. Let's say there's a case with a young female named Komal. She went through some form of abuse—perhaps verbal, perhaps physical. However, she isn't disclosing this to her parents or anyone else because she might feel ashamed or believe that sharing it is wrong. There's often a fear of judgment, and it's common to feel hesitant to talk about such personal matters.

If we keep these emotions and experiences suppressed, they tend to linger in our subconscious. Over time, they might manifest as something else. For instance, there are various disorders like conversion disorder or somatic symptom disorder, where emotional distress gets converted into physical symptoms. Therefore, addressing these feelings and experiences becomes crucial.

By not suppressing everything and instead sharing and talking about them, we can potentially prevent the escalation of symptoms. That's my perspective on this issue. It's vital not to keep things bottled up and to seek help when needed.

Stay tuned for the second part of this interview!

ENLIST yourself in MedBound's global directory of medical and healthcare professionals. Claim your space today. https://www.medbound.com/find-people

Related Stories

No stories found.