A SURVEY from Public Health England (PHE) reveals more than eight in ten (82%) people from an Asian background have experienced early signs of poor mental health including feeling anxious, stressed, having low mood or trouble sleeping in the last 12 months.
While these can be a natural response to life’s challenges, they can become more serious if people don’t take action, and many wait too long. Indeed, the PHE survey also found that over a quarter (28%) of people who experienced early signs of poor mental health from an Asian background waited at least six months before taking action.
PHE is encouraging the South Asian community to look after their own mental health, and support friends and family who might be struggling. They can start this by completing a ‘Mind Plan’, a quick and free tool from Every Mind Matters.
The plan recommends a range of evidence-based self-care actions which are designed to deal with stress, boost mood, improve sleep and help people feel more in control, from breathing exercises, ways to reframe unhelpful thoughts and ideas on how to get more active.
Shuranjeet Singh Takhar, Director of Taraki, an organisation which works alongside Punjabi communities to reshape approaches to mental health, first experienced social anxiety when he was at university. At an event which he had helped to organise, he found he was unable to speak with anyone.
As University continued, it became worse. He spoke to his housemates who were supportive. They helped him cope with social situations by going with him to events and through conversation, they helped him find the courage to go out alone.
He also found that meditating in the mornings and evenings helped ease him into the day and provided him space to reflect.
Shuranjeet says, “I know from my own experiences of overcoming social anxiety that it can be hard to know where to turn for help to feel better, for me, talking to my friends was one of the things that helped, but different techniques work for different people. That’s why Every Mind Matters is important, the reality is we all experience stress, anxiety, low mood or have trouble sleeping at some point in our lives, and now, there’s one more place to turn to for support.”
Dr. Chirag D Gorasia, a Clinical Psychologist said: “Through my work as a Clinical Psychologist, I come into contact with people from a range of communities, including the South Asian community. I regularly engage people through workshops and talks on mental health, as well as individually. Teaching and discussing issues around mental health is central to challenging social stigma, and helps people to understand there is always something they can do to improve how they feel. This is why I am so pleased about the launch of Every Mind Matters. I strongly request everyone to take the Every Mind Matters quiz today to receive a personalised action plan around looking after their individual mental health, go on, you’ll be glad you did.”