Shakti Perspectives: Gurvinder
I have always been mental health aware even with the limited resources in India I placed value in it.
Mental Health started to matter to me when I realised depression was stopping me from doing day to day stuff and I started feeling empty and hollow inside.
I can only give advice from my personal experience. I was really shamed of my illness and called "weak". Do not let years of conditioning get in your way of reaching out for help. You are not weak, or sad or broken mental health illnesses are just as real as fever, typhoid and other diseases. Do not rely on family and friends for therapy they aren't equipped to give you advice, would you go to our best friend for advice on fever no! Take this seriously and seek professional help. Remember that you are not alone, 1 in 3 people are affected by mental health illnesses once in their life so the statistics are high. I practice combination of little daily things to support my mental health. I have distanced myself from relationships that were too draining I have good boundaries in place and do not tire myself supporting others. Most importantly doing more of what I love; art, gardening, playing with my dog and organising.
Within Australian/ South Asian communities awareness needs to be raised, people need to start talking about this more openly, immigrant parents need to be made aware of the effects of migration on themselves and their kids mental health. They also need to be aware about the support services available to them. There is privilege in being overseas and there's heaps of support available. As an immigrant I accessed a few mental health services but felt the mental health sector isn't as well-informed of the struggles of being an immigrant.
I feel if someone has experienced challenges it's completely normal, it just means that this needs to be communicated and participated in online forums to share your experiences, let's create a society where our needs are being met and talked about just as much. Abroad I believe there's a long way to go there's definitely more resources in some South Asian countries than there ever was however if we can start by opening the conversations in our families overseas it's going to create a change for sure.
I had a few words on causes of mental health decline in South Asian communities; we need to let go of the facade we grew up with of ‘always keeping it together’. The decline in mental health can often sneak up on us every forced smile to align with the societal image of a happy family or a gender expectation for women slowly catches up and internal battle begins. Notice your early signs it might sound cliche but be yourself your true authentic self and when you start to feel like it's all too much reach out.