Sailesh Kumar

 

In high school I lost a close friend to suicide, and was very severely cyberbullied. Consistently I would be told to focus on school, or distract myself from what was going on. Waking up to some of the most cruel and disgusting anonymous messages was not going to be remedied by distracting myself. However, to many of my friends and family, that was all they knew about dealing with mental health. The stigma surrounding mental health is why there is so little awareness about it, and South Asian culture takes that stigma to new heights.
I think one of the core issues that helps build toward the stigma is how much we love comparing ourselves to others. If you think about it, whenever you compare yourself to someone else, you are comparing his/her highlights to your bloopers. These comparisons put intense pressure and unrealistic expectations on people as to how they should look and act. And to even further that, mental health issues are seen as signs of weakness or being crazy, and are thus kept quiet and secret to avoid shame and embarrassment.

 

Some people don't even acknowledge that this stigma exists, or that it's a big issue. South Asian countries are considered to be some of the most depressed countries in the world, and are also some of the most dangerous countries for women to live in. That is SCARY to think about.
 

Toxic masculinity, shame associated with depression or anxiety, body image disorders, and so many other issues relate to mental health, and this notion that people should just toughen up and not talk about it.
 

I hope that our platform empowers people to speak up if they feel comfortable. We have a long way to go before mental health is given the attention it deserves, and so desperately needs."

© 2019 by MannMukti