Mindfulness and Meditation for Mental Health

#Mindfulness Meditation and Happy Living workshop at @surreylibraries organized by @a_panesar_ and the @mysimran_infoteam. It was a pleasure to connect with community members and professionals from #Surrey and #Vancouver and to introduce the guest speaker, Simer Singh, from #Chicago. We had great discussion on the role of mindfulness & faith-based practices in #mentalhealthmaintenance and #mentalillnessrecovery. Thanks to all the participants and volunteers. 

Surrey Teachers Association Professional Development Workshop

It was a pleasure to present a workshop at the Surrey Teachers Association 2018 Convention on May 4th. Along with Tasha Nijjar, Bhupinder Mattoo, and Radhika Khosla, SAMHAA’s Kulpreet Singh hosted a workshop on South Asian mental health, which featured discussions on clinical understanding of mental health, cultural context, toxic masculinity, and intergenerational trauma. Thank you to all of the teachers who attended!

How to Navigate the Hustle

It was a pleasure to be on the panel for The Tipping Point’s event: “How to Navigate the Hustle” at JOEY Burnaby, last month. Thank you @itsjiyounkim& your team for the thoughtfulness, vulnerability, honesty, and dedication with which you foster important, powerful conversations like the one we all had at this event.

Mental Health Roundtable with Minister Darcy & MLA Kahlon

When people come together with shared passion for change on an issue, remarkable things can happen.

It was a pleasure to attend a roundtable discussion with BC’s Minister of Mental Health, Judy Darcy, at the constituency office of MLA Ravi Kahlon. The front line professionals and advocates there brought a wealth of experience and ideas on how to improve mental health for British Columbians. We hope this collaboration is a sign of positive change and further collaboration amongst the various stakeholders in the future. 

Journey with Anxiety

Meet Jacquile, a film director from #Vancouver, BC. After completing his short film “Help Wanted” on #SouthAsian gang violence, his mission is to amplify others’ voices and stories through expression of the arts.

Here’s his story:
Growing up in a Modern South Asian family has some challenges of its own when it comes to my #anxiety and depression. I’m lucky my family is supportive, but sometimes it’s difficult. When things go out of hand, the back and forth banters were often my loneliness crying for help. And all too often, the tears are shed in the shadows.

My own name gave me anxiety as far as I can remember. Students and teachers mispronounce it as they laughed; other South Asians and Punjabis think I’m part French or women on dating apps thought I’m a fake account. I was afraid of what people thought of me, I felt I had to put extra effort into normalizing my name.

Going to school was tough on the body; to get up in the mornings, have breakfast and chase the buses and skytrains like Shah Rukh Khan. It was difficult to force a smile when things were feeling unwell inside. I avoided going to parties or social events because of the fear of fitting in. Internal questions that only fed the anxiety. Most of all, it was the fear of what the alcohol does. Not during the socializing part, but afterwards.

I never grew up with any particular role model or best friend. Most of them weren’t, but the ones that were I did my best to learn from them. I started connecting with others on social media. However, (anti) social media wounded my insecurities and drained my mental health. If I weren’t doing this, dating someone like this, or not looking like this or having that, I would shatter. It made me feel like I am doing something wrong. 

“We Need to Share Our Stories”

Meet Lavi, a Clinical Mental Health Counselor from #Chicago. She believes in providing hope, creating art, loving her beloveds, and the magic of pizza and mango lassi. Lavi is on a mission to #endthestigma around #mentalillnessand inspire others to share their stories.

Here’s her story: “I am a South Asian-American who was born and raised in Chicago, and I have mental illnesses. The most prominent ones are #anxietyand #depression and the various accompanying symptoms, but I have also had an eating disorder, a sleep disorder, and have been in an emotionally abusive relationship. I believe my mental illnesses began when I was 10 years old, but I was not diagnosed and did not seek help until 12 years later.

As one would expect since my parents are from #India, education and excellence were emphasized in my family. I was also taught to keep my head down and not share private information outside of the family. For these reasons and for not wanting to create any problems for others, I tried my hardest not to allow anyone to see me suffering, even my family. 
I tried to ignore all of it. It was a grueling time in my life when I tried to be okay on the outside and suffer in silence on the inside. Needless to say, this plan did not work well. My symptoms kept showing up as panic attacks, faintings, acid reflux, crying spells, restricting food, binging on food, meticulous organization, and so many other things.

It got to the point where I could no longer hide my symptoms from my family. I had to ask for help because I could no longer physically function properly. Thankfully, my family understood what I was experiencing and encouraged me to seek help. It was a relief not to be judged by them, even if I still judged myself and feared the judgement of others, especially from the #SouthAsian community.” 

Personal Story – Bipolar Disorder

Meet Subrina, a masters graduate from @Columbia University and the daughter of #WestIndian immigrants from #LongIsland#NewYork. Subrina is determined to use her experience with mental illness to help end the stigma and help others.

Here’s her story:
12 years ago, at 16 years old, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Prior to my diagnosis I searched for answers to explain my paranoia, depression and anxiety. My parents dismissed my symptoms and emotions as “dramatic” until they became overwhelmingly physical and when I finally had an explanation I, along with my parents, still had no understanding of what being bipolar meant. Mental health was so foreign to us. Over the years, through therapy and my amazing psychiatrist I began to understand how to cope with the symptoms of my disorder. Accepting medication was my first challenge and it truly was a lesson I needed to learn on my own. But it was one of the most meaningful lessons of my life: simply, medication makes me the version of myself. Accepting the fact that I would be taking medication for the rest of my life was major step in my wellness but I still had to accept my disorder; that was my greatest challenge. I spent 8 years battling with my own self-loathing thoughts as I worked towards acceptance of my disorder. Bipolar disorder is like a tennis match in your brain but you’re both players. That’s probably why I’ve had such a long road to acceptance; there have been so many times I have doubted myself, my decisions and my disorder itself. There are still moments where I doubt myself; there are still times where I doubt my wellness and mostly there are times where I grow so frustrated and overwhelmed with pain that I find my self back in that same closet crying. But now I understand. I understand that pain and crying is part of my normalcy; it is part of my stability. It is part of the balance that I have fought so hard to attain. Not all days are full of smiles; some days I have to cry, some days I have to scream. And for me being comfortable with my smiles, screams and tears, well, that’s acceptance.


Presentation – Addictions

New Video 📺!
Dr. Ramanjot #Kaur Mangat, MD, CCFP, ABAM, is a family physician in #Abbotsford, British Columbia, with a specialty in #addictions#rehabilitationand opiate cessation #therapy. In this talk, Dr. Mangat gives a thorough introduction to substance use. This talk was delivered at the #SouthAsian#MentalHealth Alliance (SAMHAA) community summit at Princess Margaret Secondary School in #SurreyBC.

See the link on our bio or search #YouTube for SouthAsianMH

It’s About Time

Let’s work together to reduce the time it takes to get treatment.

Let’s fight stigma so that people waste less time in delaying asking for help.

Let’s invest our time in building better mental health policies and systems for generations to come. 
It’s about time.