Discussing mental health is very taboo in the South Asian community. So much so, that people suffering with mental health problems tend to keep quiet.
There are so many small-minded people in our community who, to put in bluntly, don’t believe in mental health problems like anxiety and depression, even things like personality disorders and eating disorders. “It’s just in your head”. “Just get over it”. “Snap out of it”. “Maybe you should pray more”. “We never had this at your age”.
I think the most disgusting response I’ve heard to mental health is “You’re just low on faith”. The audacity to assume that someone is mentally struggling because of what? Low faith? You think they don’t pray enough or don’t practice their religion enough? Or maybe it’s because they don’t trust God enough?
Or how about the response of “What have you got to be depressed about?”. That is abandonment.
Mental health is so real, and I don’t think some people can quite grasp that yet. As the saying goes, if someone has a broken leg you wouldn’t just tell them to stand up. Stop disregarding mental health just because you can’t see it. It’s known as an invisible illness for a reason.
I’ve stated in my blogs before that the world is constantly changing and I don’t doubt for a second that mental health is more common now than what it was back in the days of our parents and grandparents and great grandparents. All things considered; I think it’s important we speak about it to educate those who maybe do have that mind-set, to help them understand and become more open-minded. I don’t blame our elders for how they were raised, sometimes the mentality they have is really all they know, but as a younger generation it is our responsibility to teach them and make them aware.
Talking about these things will help each individual suffering, so instead of just sweeping it under the carpet every time, let’s let those people know that it’s okay to talk and it’s okay to get help.
Everyone has their good and bad days and if you’re not afraid to admit that then you’ll be helping the next person. Don’t carry everything on your shoulders just because that’s what this community taught you to do. That isn’t the way to approach it and you and I both know that.
I’d say our community (South Asian) is one of the worst for backbiting, slandering and judging and that’s one of the biggest reasons people with mental health illnesses won’t get help. If you’ve not got anything nice or supportive to say, then don’t say it at all. You don’t know what anyone is going through, especially in their head. Be kind, always.