There has always been a stigma surrounding mental health. Those suffering from mental health issues are afraid to speak up and many people don't really want to listen; because it's "uncomfortable". In reality, mental health is a bigger conversation and we need to be willing to take part in.
Although there has always been a stigma about Mental Health issues, there have been great strides in Western Communities in opening up the conversation. Bell, the Canadian media giant, even has an annual mental health campaign called Bell Let's Talk, which gives Canadians the chance to open up about mental health; working to erase the stigma surrounding mental health and is committed to raising money for the cause.
Meanwhile, in the South Asian community, mental health is one of those unspoken topics. Depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety are viewed as signs of weakness in character with a major stigma of shame. The issue was studied in 2010 by Time to Change, a national campaign aimed at ending stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health which found South Asians with mental health issues had a distinct experience compared to members of other communities. This silence and lack of understanding are particularly dangerous to both the individual and potentially to those around them.
South Asian immigrants and first-generation Canadians face unique struggles and factors that can take a toll on their mental health; racism, loneliness and lack of being part of a community. The conversation about mental health needs to progress to being intersectional and inclusive of these unique experiences.
Fortunately Millennial and Generation Z South Asians see the importance of these things and are taking it upon themselves to educate their community and open up a conversation about mental health. South Asian Canadian Youtube sensation Lily Singh went so far as to open up to the world about her own experience with Depression and how important it is to work to remove the stigma surrounding mental health. Deepika Pudukone similarily has spoken out regarding the stigma and lack of empathy surrounding mental health issues in India.
In the wake of tragedies like the July 2018 Danforth Shooting, we need to work together to build a more understanding community. Let's not be afraid to talk about it and be more open to listening. If you feel you are struggling with your mental health or know someone who is, below are some resources you can take advantage of.
National Crisis Hotlines
1-833-456-4566, or text 45645
National resources for information about mental illness
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention(not a crisis line)
Canadian Psychological Association
British Columbia Crisis Hotlines
No area code needed: 310-6789
British Columbia Resources
Greater Vancouver Area: 604-872-3311
Howe Sunshine & Sunshine Coast: 1-866-661-3311
Alberta Crisis Hotlines
Saskatchewan Crisis Hotlines
Manitoba Crisis Hotlines
Manitoba Crisis Line
Manitoba Psychological Society-Find a Psychologist 204-488-7398
Yukon Crisis Hotlines
Yukon Crisis Line
Northwest Territories Crisis Hotlines
Northwest Territories Resources
Nunavut Crisis Hotlines
Ontario Crisis Hotlines
In Ottawa: 613-722-6914
In the larger Ottawa area: 1-866-996-0991
Ontario Resources Ontario Psychological Association416- 961-5552
647-525-6277 Ontario Victim Support Line 1-888-579-2888
Quebec Crisis Hotlines
Newfoundland and Labrador Crisis Hotlines
Mobile Crisis Response Team http://www.easternhealth.ca/WebInWeb.aspx?d=2&id=2375&p=2106
Newfoundland and Labrador Resources
Mental Health and Addictions Services triage line http://www.centralhealth.nl.ca/toll-free-triage-line/1-844-353-3330 Association of Psychology in Newfoundland and Labrador referrals
New Brunswick Crisis Hotlines
New Brunswick Resources
Prince Edward Island Crisis Hotlines
Prince Edward Island Resources
Nova Scotia Crisis Hotlines
Nova Scotia Resources
By Daman Grewal.