Growing up in the Asian (Indian, Bengali, Pakistani) community, I was led to believe certain topics held a certain stigma around them. Mental health being one of them.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, within this community and many others, mental health topics are still seen as taboo, which has the power to oppress. It’s as if, if we don’t speak of them they aren’t real.

In aid of #TimeToTalk day, I was with two close friends of mine discussing these ‘taboo’ subjects. Mental health is something 1 in 4 people suffer from and yet it’s still seen as something that should be kept quiet and not spoken about. No one, from whatever race or community should ever feel isolated or silenced because there is no greater danger than suffering alone.

Culturally mental health issues are not treated as real simply because you can not physically see the effects. It’s rarely seen as a real disease and so it is not a ‘real’ health condition. Symptoms and warning signs get disregarded as ‘normal’ problems because we are not educated enough in these topics. Mental health rates within ethnic monitory communities are significantly lower than others, but this doesn’t necessarily suggest we are ‘suffering’ less. Imagine those who are suffering but feel they cannot reach out or open up because of what others will think of them. The idea of being mentally unstable is also seen as a weakness a trait which is not often welcomed. To be weak is to dishonour the family, the principles of dishonouring within the community stands high and should be your utmost concern. What will others think of you? Mastering strength and not bringing this sense of shame upon you or your family has ultimately limited the discussions about this topic.

Mental health awareness should be discussed openly, by speaking more directly about these subjects we can eliminate this back dated perspective. By educating one another we can openly raise awareness and stray away from the idea that mental health is something to be ashamed of or taken lightly because chances are, people you care about are suffering in silence due to being too scared to open up.

We should be actively talking to each other, our parents, siblings, kids and breaking this silence because you really don’t know what someone else is going through behind closed doors. I for one strongly believe opening up and talking to someone, anyone, really does help. No one should feel ashamed, embarrassed or isolated because there is someone who will be willing to listen. I personally know how it feels to not want to let anyone know what you’re going through because you don’t want to burden anyone with your grief, but it truly does help opening up to at least one person.

There are friends and peers we see everyday but could never believe they are going through something unless we ask how they are. It takes a matter of seconds and could mean and help in many ways than we would think.

If anyone needs to vent, to open up, to talk things through, please contact me. My inbox is always open whether it be for non-judgemental advice or to just listen. Let’s break this stigma and raise the awareness. Lets talk. Let’s share our (hopefully) good and some bad moments.

Alternatively, for more information and a whole load of numbers and helplines that may be more specific to you visit:

Keep talking!

Image from Time To Change
Posted by:Sharmin Afsana

I'm a 21 y/o Fashion Design student, born and raised in London. I'm full of wanderlust and like all things food, makeup and fashion related. Here are just a few moments of my life.

2 replies on “Lets Talk

  1. I totally agree with you. It’s as if mental health in every other cultures except Caucasians are just ignored and looked down upon, like it’s all in our imagination. In my culture, being in a Haitian community mental health does not exist. If you do hear about it, it’s always just about a person being crazy. It’s mainly because people are not educated about what mental health is. Many people, mainly kids never have anyone to talk to because they feel as though they will get made fun of or just told that it’s not a real issue. But it is a real issue and more people need to open their eyes about it because others are just going to feel more alone.

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