CW: This article discusses topics of mental health that could be distressing to some readers.
Breaking Down the Impact of Mental Health on South Asian Communities
Since mental health has traditionally been taboo: unneeded and damaging social stigmas have been created, ultimately escalating societal mental health difficulties. This article will discuss how mental health is particularly stigmatised in South Asian communities. To learn how to begin making adjustments in your life to support a healthy mentality, read the article all the way through.
Compared to the past, there has been a growing understanding regarding people's mental health and psychological state in latest years. However, mental health is still considered unacceptable in South Asian communities. As a girl from a South Asian background, I have noticed a massive stigma toward mental health whilst growing up; However, the big question is why that is?
Why is seeking mental health services and support challenging for some South Asians?
The Value of Silence: Sometimes, in South Asian cultures, silence is regarded as a virtue. So, we often grow into adults watching people who remain quiet and face lousy treatment be commended. This is especially true for women; as South Asian girls, we are brought up to admire other women's silence and submission. It reinforces the notion that remaining silent in the face of adverse circumstances is a positive thing (when this is not) and that communicating and asking for help is a sign of weakness.
Culture of confidentiality: There is a belief that personal difficulties should be kept private and that family secrets must not be shared. This seems to be closely connected to the pressure to maintain appearances and to act as if everything is fine when it isn't.
Toxic gratitude: Some people could view this as unappreciative even when someone has a legitimate worry. This is particularly true in South Asian families, where members are frequently told to think positively and then accused of being disrespectful when they raise the issue. However, you don't have to pick between the two; you can accept that your situation is challenging while also realising that some individuals are worse off than you.
Concern over perception: The stress of juggling two distinct environments may present challenges for South Asians. While attempting to integrate into a western culture that values self-freedom, they might encounter difficulties adjusting to their own culture. Personal boundaries are unclear, and self-identity is based on the approval of one's family and community. Given the dominance of white specialists in the mental health field, it's understandable that many South Asians may be hesitant to seek mental health care for fear of being judged or stigmatised by professionals who lack cultural competency or awareness.
How to maintain a healthy state of mind?
Ultimately, I've learned that we shouldn't focus on the stigma. Instead, we must all work together to improve our efforts, teach ourselves, and alter our perspectives. Of course, it is simple to fall into bad habits and give up, but making tiny changes over time might help you adopt a positive attitude. Believe me. I've been there myself, which is why I want to stop this way of living.
These steps begin having a better influence and transitioning to a healthier mindset.
You, First - Take charge of your life, and don't be afraid to prioritise yourself.
Accept yourself for who you are; acting as if your feelings and problems don't exist will not make them go away!
Interact with others and express yourself; it does not make you a bad person, nor should it make you feel embarrassed or weak.
Don't be bothered by - toxic people, other people's thoughts, your past failures, or being perfect.
It goes both ways - Taking care of yourself mentally and physically. Getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying hydrated are all things that will benefit you in the long run!
and, in the grand scheme of things, through the hardship:
here you are living despite it all - Rupi Kaur
South Asian Mental Health Resources
I think this subject may lose its stigma and promote awareness of mental health discussions within South Asian communities. Hopefully, this will lead to a culture where those with mental health problems are encouraged to seek help rather than be compelled to hide.
Here's a little list of resources that I recommend you can check out.
taraki.co.uk - Taraki
asiandisabilitynetwork.com - Asian Disability Network
sahf.org.uk - South Asian Health Foundation
samhin.org - South Asian Mental Health
baatn.org.uk - The Black, African and Asian Therapy