The month of May is dedicated to Mental Health Awareness. A whole month dedicated to raising awareness around mental health and well-being in the UK.
Why is it important?
As much as we would all like life to run smoothly, a lot of the time it doesn’t. Things get in the way and sometimes we don’t know how to deal with them and then we get stuck in a rut. This can affect our ability to function and those around us.
It’s super important we learn to deal with these situations and how to overcome them as best we can before things get worse. I wrote a blog post around this time last year – read it HERE, it was really difficult for me to open up but mental health is something I’ve dealt with personally and I can sympathise with anyone dealing with mental health issues.
Mental Health In The South Asian Community
As a community, mental health is shrugged off, we shut it out and ignore it in the hope it goes away. The understanding on this topic within the South Asian community is so negative and we NEED to change this.
We need to communicate to the older generations that not feeling 100% is OK and it’s OK to talk about it. There’s no shame in admitting you’re finding things hard to deal with, we’re all different and we deal with things in our own ways, some better than others.
How Do I Look?
Monday 13th May to 19th May focuses on body image. Body issues affect us all in some way at some point in our lives. We see these what is supposed to be ‘ideal’ figures on TV and social media telling us what we should look like. This can have a huge effect on our mental health making us feel uncomfortable, insecure and unhappy. All these feelings and emotions can lead to unhealthy thoughts.
Body Shaming In The South Asian Community.
I’m sure we’ve all heard something along the lines of the following phrases at some point; oh beta you’ve put on weight, you look like you’re eating well, are you a dustbin, does your mother not feed you, you’re looking a bit thin etc etc etc.
These are just some of the phrases I’ve heard in our community. We’re expected to be this body type that doesn’t even exist. You can’t win if you lose weight and you can’t win if you put it on. The stresses of functions and buying an outfit that fits are all too familiar (because we know Indian outfits don’t really come in large sizes!) and you know there will be those one or two aunties that will comment on how you look. These relatives don’t think before they speak or take into consideration how this might affect our feelings, body shaming in our community is just harsh.
I’m sorry, but I’m not here to fulfil YOUR expectations,
I’m here to just be me.
I hope one day most of the issues we deal with in our community are abolished but until then, it’s up to us to change things, don’t judge people on how they look, you don’t know how they feel about themselves. And if you’re facing situations you feel like you can’t deal with, there are plenty of places that will just listen and help.
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Love, Dina x