It’s time to talk about mental health.
I have avoided this topic for the longest time, often thinking maybe it’s not necessary for me to provide an input. I cannot speak on behalf of everyone from the South Asian community but it doesn’t take a lot to notice the taboo surrounding mental health. I am taking a stand and I ask you to do the same. Don’t feel pressured into carrying the weight of our community or the cultural stigma on your shoulders alone.
Mental health disorders have been subject to negative stigmatisation in our community. If you don’t believe me maybe you will believe the numbers. The Mental Health Foundation (2016) found that Black and Minority Ethnic groups in the UK are mostly likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems and to disengage from conventional mental health services available to the public.
“Why are you sad if you have things to be happy for?”. For the past year I have been asking myself this simple question which resulted in the dismissal of my mental health, ultimately making it a lot worse. I have felt that we are made to diminish, deny and disregard mental illness when we suffer from it. I reached my breaking point before I finally asked for help.
To anyone who is suffering in silence I encourage you to reach out and ask for the help you need. There is no weakness behind this, only strength. It took me a long time to realise self-advocacy is key so take care of yourself, be kind to yourself and put yourself first.
Our shared goal should be eliminating the stigma attached to mental health entirely and start promoting mental health awareness. If we collectively as a community have this shared goal then maybe, just maybe, discussions about mental health can be normalised.
By Nimra Ahmed