Mental health is important to all our lives but unfortunately there remains a lot of stigma and ignorance around many mental illnesses. As a result, many people are unable to get the help or support they need, and lose out on relationships, jobs, and, literally, “peace of mind” of living a fulfilled and joyful life. South Asian Mental Health Alliance (SAMHAA) is a new non-profit community network engaging, educating and mobilizing the BC South Asian community around issues related to mental health.
SAMHAA’s mission is to create awareness, foster acceptance, provide links to support & resources, & empower all affected by mental illness. Our vision is a society where health/wellness of the mind, body & spirit are recognized equally, without stigma or stereotypes.
Dr. Shimi Kang
Dr. G. Shimi Kang, MD FRCPC founded the Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders Program at BC Children’s Hospital in 2003, as well as the Youth, Culture, and Mental Health Fund in 2010. In 2011, Dr. Kang joined the Board of Directors of the BC Mental Health Foundation. Dr. Kang’s work on early identification and intervention for youth has been recognized with five national awards in the field of addictions and mental health. Currently, in addition to her role as Medical Director, Child and Youth Mental Health at Vancouver Coastal Health, Dr. Kang is a Psychiatrist for the Provincial Women’s Mental Health Program at BC Women’s Hospital and Assistant Clinical Professor at UBC.
Dr. Gulzar Cheema
Dr. Gulzar S. Cheema, MD CCFP was elected in May 2001 to represent the riding of Surrey-Panorama Ridge, and from June 2001 served as the Minister of State for Mental Health. In January 2004, Dr. Cheema was appointed as Minister of State for Immigration and Multicultural Services. He was also a member of the Legislative Assembly in Manitoba for five years. Currently, in addition to his own family practice in Surrey, BC, Dr. Cheema is a clinical instructor for the Department of Family Practice and Medical Director, iCON South Asian Division eHealth Strategy Office, Faculty of Medicine, UBC.
Kulpreet Singh, Director
Kulpreet Singh has worked in the field of marketing for 12 years and studied eCommerce at the University of British Columbia. His interests include spirituality, social & political activism, and community service. After witnessing difficulties faced by individuals with mental illness and the barriers to access, such as age, gender, language, culture, and income, he founded SAMHAA. Kulpreet Singh is currently studying psychology and hopes to coordinate research into mental health issues in marginalized communities.
Tajinder S. Rai, Director
Tajinder S. Rai is currently completing his Masters of Counselling Psychology. He has been working in the field of counselling and psychology for over 8 years. Currently Tajinder is working in the Surrey School District as a youth care worker as well as completing his practicum at Vancouver Coastal Health as a mental health clinician. Being raised in Surrey BC, he has a special connection with the communities there.
Sukhdeep Jassar, Director
Sukhdeep Jassar is currently completing her Masters in Public Health at SFU in the Global Health stream. While completing a practicum analyzing the mental health services provided in Zambia, she felt a renewed desire to work in mental health care, specifically with the South Asian community in Canada. She hopes to use her health promotion experience and her knowledge of mental health to work with other passionate individuals in improving mental health care services here at home.
Raman Khaira, Director
Raman Khaira is an enthusiastic coach with Hoop Dreams Basketball Club. He has also been actively involved with Guru Nanaks Free Kitchen since 2008, where he serves as their volunteer coordinator. On a number of occasions Raman has traveled to developing countries for relief missions, most recently to Haiti. Raman works at First United Church in the Vancouver downtown eastside.
Harsimran Kaur Kalra, Director
Harsimran Kaur is a vibrant young woman working and volunteering in various health care settings and venues across the Lower Mainland while completing her BSc. in Health Science at Simon Fraser University. She currently works for a learning school and volunteers in various hospitals, research institutes and NGOs. She is extremely passionate about helping people and researching infectious diseases. She wants to study disease-based epidemiology and pursue a career in medicine.
Ranjit Kaur, Director
Ranjit Kaur works for ICBC as Claims Adjuster and actively participates in social work and fundraising campaigns with various local non-profit agencies. She has studied at UBC and University of Windsor and completed her degree in Psychology. She is passionate about supporting and actively participating in social issues and Loves to spend time with her family, have spiritual discourses and outdoors activities. She enjoys volunteering with South Fraser Women’s Services Society, Burnaby General Hospital (Children’s Ward), Multi-Faith Action Society, Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen, Parent Advisory Council for School District 43 of Coquitlam, Assistant Basketball Coach, and Women Against Violence Against Women (Vancouver chapter).