Shakti Global perspectives: U.S
Shakti perspectives: Vaidehi
The access to mental health resources is limited as is for even majority ethnic populations. When it comes to South Asians the access to resources and even the desire to seek help is
even more limited due to stigma. Too many individuals feel that their mental health isn’t something worth being prioritized because that is how the majority of previous generations have tackled mental health.
All these reasons are why advocating and supporting the South Asian community is extremely important, representation for the South Asian community in mental health MATTERS. I advocate by speaking out and being active in my community. I think that the one way to
change the narrative for South Asians is to take up space. I’m involved in many different
South Asian mental health non profits, all in leadership positions which gives me the ability to impact other South Asians living here in America. One of my biggest accomplishments so far has been the work I’ve done with Harvard Medical School and
McLean Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. For the past two years, I’ve been able to share my story through the 'Deconstructing Stigma' campaign, in which participants are
given the opportunity to tell their own experiences with mental health.
I’ve been able to share my story at the Exploring Brain and Mental Health conference in India at the
Nehru Science Center, and became the face of the campaign in McLean’s yearly magazine 'Writing the Future' and am now displayed in Boston Logan International
Airport as one of the faces representing the campaign. I am the second South Asian to participate in the campaign and the only one currently pictured at Boston Airport.
Over the course of the past decade (in total), I’ve dealt with depression, anxiety, and
anorexia, and survived an assault. I’ve struggled a lot with my mental health over the past seven or so years. In the beginning it was primarily just negative feelings associated with self-esteem and worth, and a great deal of isolation. It escalated even
further after my freshman year of college, and it went downhill for a long time before it started to even remotely improve. South Asian culture and upbringing can contribute so
much to trauma, and for me I think that’s where many of my mental health issues
My safe space has always been my world of writing, which is interesting because it’s become my side hustle. Writing in the beginning was just a hobby for me, or something I
only did when I wasn’t either crying or sleeping. But after all these years, it’s turned into so much more for me and has amplified my voice around the world. The best advice I can give to people is a phrase I recently came up with. While there is togetherness in loneliness, there is togetherness in healing. By that I mean that while so
many of us are lonely, we can find solace in the fact that we’re all bound by healing.
Besides writing, I’ve taken every opportunity I can to actively speak about mental health.
I’ve been a guest on Radio Mirchi twice now, and have also been on various podcasts
talking about South Asian mental health as well. I also take every opportunity I get to be
interviewed about issues relating to mental health, and was recently featured on Yahoo Lifestyle talking about the stigma associated with mental health in the South Asian
community. I also use my personal social media to talk about current event issues and just overall shed light on things that are going on in today’s society.