This beautiful Hindi song (Jaana Zaroori Tha) was just released today that hopes to bring about discussions on mental health, anxiety, and depression, especially in the South Asian Community. The words, Jaana Zaroori Tha translates to “Did you have to leave?” in English and the producer’s Mourjo Chatterjee’s goal is to initiate a dialogue on mental health in a sensitive way.
I am not qualified to talk about mental health or illness, but I do know that there is quite a bit of stigma within the South Asian community. Most individuals whether teens, youth, or adults do not feel comfortable talking about their feelings of depression and isolation to their family members or their friends. We, as a community in general, want to sweep such issues under the rug.
We judge the ones suffering from depression as a quality of the weak. So it should not come as a surprise, that Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) report states that South Asian Americans have the lowest rate of utilization of mental health services.
We are told to not air our dirty laundry in public, and we have to show strength through silence. We are encouraged to forget our issues, distract ourselves with something else, or just plainly “let it go”. Just like we cannot heal a broken arm with positive thoughts, we can not heal a broken mind with just changing our thoughts, and if left untreated could potentially get worse or even lead to suicide.
SahaJ Kohli is a graduate student and a therapist who founded and started a micro-community of support on Instagram for children of immigrants called Brown Girl Therapy. As a minority therapist in training, she created this platform specializing in mental health resources and accessibility, identity and the destigmatization of therapy in the South Asian Community.
Some other accounts to follow on IG that are spreading mental health support are: South Asian Wellness, South Asian Mental Health, South Asian Sexual & Mental Health Alliance (SASMHA).
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network (Call 1-800-273-8255) is available 24/7 across the United States. People call to talk about lots of things: substance abuse, economic worries, relationships, sexual identity, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and loneliness, to name a few.
As a community, our goal should be to drop the culture of shame and have open, honest conversations with our loved ones and encourage them to seek professional medical help if needed. If you or someone you know is going through mental health problems, please contact your primary care doctor or health professional. Let’s break the silence and start having these conversations with our loved ones, our friends and build awarness.
“Just because someone looks perfect from a distance… doesn’t mean they are”– I Heart Thoughts