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  1. PUNJABI MEN ARE STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL HEALTH BECAUSE THEY LACK THE WORDS TO DESCRIBE IT ‘I know that if I tell them that I’m going to therapy or that I take antidepressants, they’ll see it as me having a serious sickness.’ Sukhi, a 28-year-old graduate student from Birmingham, England, was officially diagnosed with depression last year. He was forced to see a doctor after he started to lack the emotional energy necessary to do basic things: get out of bed, make food, hold a basic conversation with his flatmates, and most of all, take his final year exams for his master’s degree in economics. For years, Sukhi had dealt with smaller bouts of depression. He had days where, he tells me, he felt a “heavy, overbearing sadness” without any root cause. Other days, he found himself sitting in the university library for hours, unable to work and “trying my best not to burst into tears.” At its most intense, he admits he had suicidal ideations: “I felt so worthless and like I wasn’t good enough for my friends or my family.” He says he usually could “pull himself together” by the end of the day, amounting his feelings to the stress of university life. It was only when he was physically unable to finish writing his final year essays that he decided he needed to get help. Sukhi agreed to speak to me under one condition: That I keep him anonymous. That isn’t because he’s ashamed of having a mental illness. After all, more than 16 million people — one in four Brits — will suffer some form of mental illness according to official National Health Service (NHS) statistics. But while Sukhi talks openly about his mental health with his friends and colleagues, he still hasn’t told any of his tight-knit Punjabi Sikh family. “There’s still a lot of shame around mental health in my community, which is similar in a lot of South Asian communities,” he tells me. “I know that if I tell them that I’m going to therapy or that I take antidepressants, they’ll see it as me having a serious sickness. I’m not ashamed of mental illness, but I do worry that my parents will feel shame — like they’ve failed as parents. And inevitably, they’ll wonder how they’d tell other people in the community. Or how they’d even explain what a mental illness is.” It is true that this is a common state of affairs in many Punjabi families, which view emotional vulnerability among men as a sign of weakness and failure. As a result, it’s led to a situation where, per Sukhi, “hundreds, potentially thousands, of Punjabis have been forced to get on with their lives, in spite of their mental-health struggles.” “I know that my grandfather, who came to the U.K. in the 1950s, dealt with his own mental-health struggles,” Sukhi confides. “My mum saw him crying on his own in the car once, when she was a teenager — apparently, this happened quite often. But when my mum brought it up one day, he got angry, denied it and started shouting at her. She didn’t bring it up again until after he passed away.” “When you’re an immigrant and you have to look after your family,” he continues, “there’s a pressure to suppress your emotions because your family is more important, and putting food on the table is the most important thing. It’s not just cultural taboos around mental health — I don’t actually think that’s the main reason. It has more to do with men feeling they need to be the head of the household, and it’s their responsibility to keep everyone together. That’s what encourages them not to say anything.” Recent research from the University of East London has shown that South Asians were among the ethnic groups least likely to consult professional mental-health services, largely because they had fewer access to resources and the few that they did weren’t culturally contextual. The research also showed that Punjabi Sikhs were among the most vulnerable to suffer mental illness in silence, because of a “belief in self-sufficiency” and a “belief that they are capable of managing hardships without the input of external services.” To begin to change those beliefs, at the end of last year, Shuranjeet Takhar, a postgraduate student at Oxford University started Tarakī, an organization that aims to provide Punjabi men an “open space to talk about their mental health.” He did so because when he went to look for help with his own anxiety within the Punjabi community, he discovered that “there wasn’t much knowledge about mental health and that often, it’s dismissed as a problem that only affects white people.” While Takhar tells me that there’s been significant progress made in Punjabi communities — especially around women’s mental health — men still “find it difficult to talk about how they feel, and believe that you should just get on with it.” Thus, one of Tarakī’s central missions is to “provide better education in Sikh communities around what mental health is, and to make clear that mental health is as important as physical health, which is taken more seriously.” Since its inception, Tarakī has set up a successful Instagram page that profiles Punjabi men speaking openly about their mental health. They include people like Jaspreet, who recalls being told that his depression-fueled sleepless nights might be the product of “black magic.” The page also features mental-health professionals in the Punjabi community and contact details for private consultations. “Social media outreach is just one way to reach the community,” says Takhar. He tells me that the organization is already running mental-health workshops in gurdwaras and within British Sikh communities, led by people in the community itself. “One of the biggest challenges,” he says, “is language. There isn’t a direct translation for words like depression and anxiety in Punjabi, Hindi or Urdu, which means that a generation that came to the U.K. as migrants aren’t able to understand what it is, or know the severity of leaving it untreated.” “We need culturally attune services that understand the cultural context of illness and the histories of migration that dismissed the mental health of our parents and grandparents,” Takhar adds. “Homogenizing [mental-health] experiences doesn’t work, it only brings us to where we’re at. We want to make sure that people who want to help their own communities have the knowledge to do so. Ultimately, mental health should be a community-based approach.” Sukhi does plan to tell his family about his mental-health struggles soon, and he believes that organizations like Tarakī are needed to help make a cultural change. “Younger Sikhs, in fact, are much more conscious of mental health, and it’s definitely helped that celebrities and sports people are talking about it,” he says. “But changing the views of our communities is much harder. Maybe, they think by keeping quiet, they’re protecting us. I don’t know. I just hope my kids won’t feel they have to keep their struggles a secret, too.”
  2. vjk vjkf, Are there people here who have ASD and ADHD ? Are you a amritdhari ? I am someone who has ASD and ADHD and many mental health problems with trauma. I wish to come a singh, but I feel that sikhi won't be able to deal with me. I struggle with concept of sangat, and have been avoiding going to the gurdwara. I used to go a lot, but i find it difficult now. I probably won't be responding back, just wanted to know if there is anyone here. I live in the GTA if that makes a difference... anyway... I feel that punjabi guys are very judgemental, and I am just don't want to be ostracized with sikhs. I already struggling with my belief. Thank You everyone VJK VJKF
  3. Guest

    My current state of mind

    I’ve been struggling with depression for years, and it’s currently really getting harder and harder as each day passes by. i reached out to a doctor who said I should be on meds but I’m only 21 and I don’t want that for me. it all started out when I was in high school and had started experiencing self esteem issues back then cause of the way I looked. I’m a kesadhari and I wish to take Amrit. My fam isnt amritdhari and my dad drinks he’s kesadhari though. Life has been an absolute struggle so far. Whether it was socializing with others, or completing my studies, or getting a job. I am getting extremely weary of this now. I have been contemplating suicide. I need answers! I recently developed severe dry eyes cause most of my work is with my computer cause I basically studied computer science and I’m really passionate about it and this medical condition now poses another challenge. I wouldn’t share much. But I have been carrying a massive weight on my shoulders which not only affects me but my parents as well if I fail. Its only getting tougher and tougher I don’t know who to reach out to. It’s a very painful phase in my life and as each day passes by I’m losing hope if it’s ever gonna get better. Idk how long can this go on. Heres what I intend to do now, I wish to go on a meditation journey and I’ll try to meditate as much as my body will allow me. I wish to receive Darshan from guru saheb from whom I need answers and help. This is my last resort. If our path is the true path, I need to meet with guru saheb and ask him all these questions that I have. Is there anyone in the Sangat has had that experience. Has anyone had Darshan of guru saheb. Please help me out here. IM NOT CRAZY! waheguru ji ka Khalsa, waheguru ji ki fateh
  4. https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/punjabi-men-are-struggling-with-mental-health-because-they-lack-the-words-to-describe-it
  5. Guest

    Depression

    I am a male early 30's. I have suffered with lack of motivation, lack of energy and difficulties with sleep for many years. I am a qualified doctor, and definitely, there is no underlying medical condition. Can anyone help me advising on specific shabads which lifts mood, motivation and energy levels? - I would need a link to an audio or video Katha source that explains the shabad too Thanks
  6. Either this guy is mentally ill or is sane and a complete disgrace to his family and Sikh community. He is a druggie and alcoholic got into a car crash which killed his muslim mate and now he has converted to islam to make up for his muslim mates death. What kinda madness is going inside the heads of some of our youth? I'm guessing and suspect his muslim mate was a drug dealer and other criminal muslims within his social circle have pressurized and probably threatened him to convert or suffer consequences. I know there is a huge problem in UK prisons also with muslim criminals in gangs forcing non-muslims to convert on jail or suffer physical attacks. ================ ‘I’m converting to Islam to atone for my friend’s death’ 11 May 2017 STRATFORD A Sikh driver who killed his friend after a drink and drugs binge has been jailed for four years and 10 months. Gurvinder Mudhar, 25, downed vodkas mixed with energy drinks and smoked cannabis two hours before he flipped his Honda Civic, killing 31-year-old Zeigum Mohammed. Mudha, who had no driving license or insurance and comes from a Sikh family, has since converted to Islam to ‘atone’ for killing his Muslim friend. He swerved in and out of traffic and… source: http://courtnewsuk.co.uk/im-converting-islam-atone-friends-death/
  7. Guest

    Intercaste Relations

    Hi guys, just looking for some advice on an awkward situation. :unsure2: I've been 'suffering' from depression for several years now alone, and recently found someone who was willing to listen to my concerns and help me through what was a very very hard time recently, which consisted of anxiety attack after anxiety attack, breakdowns and feeling very low and even considering suicide at times. It wasn't a pretty sight haha. I'm 18 and a Jatt, and he is 18 but Tarkhan. Obviously this raised a huge problem among my family when they realised of his existence. They got into contact with his family making threats etc. which was the wrong way to go about it in my eyes. My relationship with my family has not been very good for several years now, and I often isolate myself from them so it's been comforting to be able to talk to this boy, and his family are very understanding of the whole situation. I fear that cutting contact would have some drastic consequences on my mental function. Just wondering what I could possibly do? Appreciate your help
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