Jamshedpur: Jamshedpur-born Australian actor and social entrepreneur, Saroni Roy, has been spreading awareness about health and wellbeing, focusing on mental health, cancer-survivorship, and healing in Australia and worldwide. She has been sharing her journey of struggle and success in a series of webinars and thought-leadership forums, as an inspirational speaker, moderator and host on talk-shows.
A cancer-survivor, facing multiple invisible disabilities, Saroni is a body-activist and strives to reach out to people across the globe who might be struggling with stigmas around mental health, trauma and illnesses like cancer, and may not have the awareness and support to deal with the situation. She says, “Cancer knows no borders, it does not discriminate. There is an urgent need to educate people, demystify the myths, and barriers to early diagnosis and preventive measures.”
As a screen actor, artist and co-chair, Equity Diversity – Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, Saroni moderated the significant ‘Health & Wellbeing: Raising the Bar for Screen Creatives’ for the third Screen Diversity Showcase panel discussion on health and wellbeing. The panel discussed the biggest mental health challenges facing creatives in the Australian screen industry, and how these challenges have evolved since the pandemic, practical resources and techniques to assist performers and other artists in securing their wellbeing in such a demanding workplace, and how the field of intimacy is playing such a crucial role in this process.
Sharing her brave journey of battling cancer at this year’s virtual National Breast Cancer Foundation fundraiser Pink Ribbon Breakfast for Breast Cancer Awareness & Talking About Health – fundraiser for Beyond Blue (a mental health support NGO in Australia) and National Breast Cancer Foundation, she said, “This was back in 2013. There were no symptoms except for one. I remember it was New Year’s Eve and I was getting ready to go out for dinner and I saw a swelling, like a lump on my neck. I went to an ENT surgeon the next day and was told it appears to be a tumour inside the thyroid gland so we need to go through the battery of tests to see if it’s benign or malignant. Either way I will have to get it surgically removed.”
When asked about her successful career and how she was able to overcome the challenges, Saroni said, “It was only a couple of years ago when I was suffering from excruciating pain in my left leg, that I had to quit my teaching job, and was on bed rest, that I started studying acting. I needed a creative outlet for my artistic passions given the current physical limitations, and wanted to meet like-minded creatives. Soon acting became my healing mechanism.”