June is Pride Month: an entire month dedicated to the uplifting of LGBTQ voices, celebration of LGBTQ culture and the support of LGBTQI rights.

The rainbow flag — created by artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 — is used as a symbol of LGBTQ pride, with each color representing something specific. Originally with 8 colors, this year the flag colors were altered, including black to represent diversity, brown to represent inclusivity. and light blue and pink, the colors of the trans pride flag. Here is an overview of the history and meaning of Pride Month.

It’s fitting that Pride month follows Mental Health Awareness month — means we got our resources down to actually be able to celebrate.

pride (noun)
1. a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
2. consciousness of one’s own dignity.

The words and phrases associated with the meaning of the word “pride” — satisfaction with one’s own self, dignity, admiration — are not afforded to those who do not identify as one gender and just heterosexuality, although they are human rights each of us must have to fulfill our highest, most authentic selves.

Due to the stigma of queerness or transgender in all its forms coupled with the stigma of mental health in a culture that is widely known for its emphasis on heterosexual weddings, the South Asian LGBTQI community is hit extra hard. Resources and communities like the South Asian Sexual and Mental Health Alliance are here for you.

The journey to live authentically is the hardest path to walk, going far beyond the fixation of who you choose and don’t choose to have sex with. Just as feminism encompasses healthy masculinity, so too does LGBTQI pride encompass healthy sexuality and freedom of expression benefitting us all. Knowing who you’re attracted to is a small piece of the whole that is the beautiful messy you.
Prides are also family units that may comprise anywhere from two to 40 lions. That means there’s a community here for you that is fierce, most of whom will rip the throat of threats to you. You are not alone!

Here is a list of South Asian specific resources on the SASMHA Resources page:

NATIONWIDE ORGANIZATIONS

WWW.SOUTHASIANTHERAPISTS.ORG

Directory of South Asian therapists around the world, searchable by zip code.

MY MANTRAMYMANTRAWELLNESS.COM

My Mantra offers free/low-cost emotional and career coaching, classes including in yoga, meditation, dance, and cooking, and peer-support group spaces including on topics of LGBTQ+ identity, South Asian dating, grief, and beauty standards.

MANNMUKTI | WWW.MANNMUKTI.ORG

MannMukti is an org dedicated to encouraging healthy, open dialogue of mental health issues in an effort to remove stigma, improve awareness and promote self-care, especially within the South Asian community. They offer a variety of resources and infographics as well as a large community forum. They also have a nifty list of resources by faith.

SOUTH ASIAN AMERICANS LEADING TOGETHER (SAALT) | SAALT.ORG

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) offers a downloadable factsheet on health-care issues that South Asian Americans face, with a section of resources

SAKHI FOR SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN | WWW.SAKHI.ORG | 212-868-6741

Sakhi is originally a NY-based organization dedicated to ending violence against women in South Asian communities and supporting women through advocacy and community services

Sakhi also features a list of women’s resources across states and municipalities.

SAHELI BOSTON | SAHELIBOSTON.ORG

Saheli is a Boston-based group dedicated to supporting South Asian women and their families. This resource page includes a variety of helpful sub-topics such as immigration, domestic violence, gay men, and legal issues.

THE SOUTH ASIAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION (SAPHA) | JOINSAPHA.ORG

The South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of South Asians and the communities in which they live within the United States.

THE ASIAN AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION| AAPAONLINE.ORG

The Asian American Psychological Association features a Division on South Asian Americans, committed to understanding social, emotional, political, and personal influences affecting South Asians in psychology and creating a forum to impact change for the betterment of South Asian mental health.

LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS

SAMHAJ (UNDERSTANDING MENTAL HEALTH)

Samhaj provides support including multilingual workshops, training, and in-person/online support groups sponsored by NAMI. These groups seek to support people with mental illness and their loved ones, with a specific focus on the growing South Asian population in New Jersey. Local provider listings and educational materials are also available.

SOUTH ASIAN NETWORK (SAN) | SOUTHASIANNETWORK.ORG

SAN (South Asian Network) is a community based organization dedicated to advancing the health, well being, and civil rights of South Asians in Southern California. They offer programs including free and reduced-fee counseling and CHAI, the Community Health Action Initiative.

COUNSELORS HELPING [SOUTH] ASIAN INDIANS (CHAI) | PROBONOCOUNSELING.ORG/SPECIAL_PROGRAMS/CHAI

CHAI (Counselors Helping [South] Asian Indians) provides outreach, referrals, and education related to mental health and wellness to the South Asian community in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. You can call (443) 615-1355 for a free referral.

SOUTH ASIAN MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE & NETWORK (SAMHIN) | SAMHIN.ORG

SAMHIN (South Asian Mental Health Initiative & Network) is based in New Jersey and offers a variety of resources, including a provider directory, South Asian Alcoholics Anonymous and suicide survivor groups (currently meeting online), and a free, confidential helpline.

Call the HelpLine: 732-902-2561
Hours: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM Eastern daily

ORGANIZATIONS OUTSIDE THE USA

SOUTH ASIAN MENTAL HEALTH ALLIANCE | SAMHAA.ORG

The South Asian Mental Health Alliance (SAMHAA) is a non-profit community network based in British Columbia, Canada engaging, educating and mobilizing the BC South Asian community around issues related to mental health.

SOCH MENTAL HEALTH | WWW.SOCHMENTALHEALTH.COM

SOCH is a mental health promotion initiative started by two registered nurses from Brampton, Canada tailored at providing the South Asian community with awareness, skills, and knowledge about mental health. Their programming includes a focus on mental health, addiction, and Sikh communities, including a variety of events and support groups.

HEALTHTALK | WWW.HEALTHTALK.ORG

HealthTalk is a UK organization that shares information and health resources for both adults and teens, and also has a great section on mental health experiences for ethnic minorities, including individualized suggestions and a variety of videos and interviews. Specialty topics include complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and mental health through the lens of religion and spirituality in non-Western cultures.


Youth Resources

OK2TALK | WWW.OK2TALK.ORG | 1-800-273-TALK

A page for self-expression for teens and young adults encountering mental health struggles, with an accompanying 24/7 hotline.

ACTIVE MINDS | ACTIVEMINDS.ORG

Active Minds is an organization with branches at colleges and universities across the country with a mission to “break down the stigma associated with mental health and increasing help-seeking among college students.”

Read up on how to start a chapter at your own university.

Active Minds also offers a page on how to approach a conversation about mental health with a friend if there’s someone in your life that you’re concerned about.

TEEN MENTAL HEALTH | TEENMENTALHEALTH.ORG

A Canadian website offers education, resources, and toolboxes for helpful topics including a “Could my Parent Be/Have…” series for helping loved ones with mental issues as a teen.

Not interested in “treatment,” but just looking for a little help?

Want to find out what methods you can try at home? Mindfulness methods involve being present with the help of breathing, meditation, and other techniques. This website is tailored specifically to teens who are interested in trying mindfulness techniques, and also offers a page of resources and try-it-at-home links, including to several apps that can help in guided meditation/mindfulness practice.

 

Amisha