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SHAKTI PERSPECTIVES

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 

stemmed from. 


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.