“People of South Asian origin also have the highest perceived barriers to mental health treatment, and are 85 percent less likely to seek treatment for mental illness than those who identify as white.”
I read this line in an article recently and let it sink its roots into my mind. Unlike many other communities, the South Asian one has a variety of cultural and societal barriers to overcome to be ‘successful’ or even happy. These factors have put enough barriers that we fear to seek help even in our lowest moments and darkest thoughts.
What are these ideals? I think Hasan Minhaj said it the best with:
We can’t sit back and let our mental health deteriorate because Naila Aunty is going to talk up. We’ve already lost so much in life because of what Naila Aunty might say or think. Then again, I can’t pin all of this on Naila Aunty. For some, it could be not wanting to tell your parents you have mental health issues after all the hand blistering and soul-wrenching things they’ve done for you. Yet, your mental health has little to do with that but how are we going to explain that to them when we can’t even explain that Naila Aunty’s words mean nothing.
Seeking help may not even require you to shed away these societal norms as of yet. You can reach out to therapists, online websites with trained professionals, independent group organization geared towards helping the mental health diaspora in the South Asian community and, my personal favourite, friends.
You can argue that many of these institutions and therapeutic solutions are not geared towards the South Asian community. That’s where you are wrong. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has been developing a culturally adapted form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Canadians of South Asian origin. This is true for areas in the rest of North America and Europe as well. Read more here.
Are we really going to sit back and allow yourself a painful existence because Naila Aunty can’t concentrate on her own children? #FuckNailaAunty If you feel you need help, seek help. If you can help someone else, do it.
I am running a 10K through SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Run for Women which is created to raise money for Women’s Mental Health Programs. If you’re up for the challenge, take on the fun of the run yourself. If not, feel free to pledge a donation to help your part in helping mental health everywhere. Let's change the perception of mental health in our community one step at a time. Donate here. (You can still support the cause during COVID-19- updates here.)
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