4 ways to reverse the silent mental health crisis in South Asian communities

MHA Admin

Wed, 07/12/2023 – 09:09

by Nishat Uddin, founder of Brown Girls Health

Mental health is an important aspect of our overall well-being, yet it is often overlooked in South Asian communities. There is a silent mental health crisis in these communities due to a taboo around having conversations about mental health, which is frequently dismissed as not being a real issue. Mental health issues can be seen as a sign of weakness or bringing shame to the family, and oftentimes religion is seen as a solution to cure mental health.

In addition to the taboo and stigma surrounding mental health in these communities, the pressure to maintain a facade of strength and success further contributes to the silent crisis. There is a prevailing idea to uphold traditional gender roles and fulfill societal expectations, leading individuals to suppress their emotions and suffer in silence. This cultural norm places immense pressure on individuals to conform to rigid standards of achievement, resulting in feelings of inadequacy, stress, and anxiety.

The reliance on religion as the sole solution to mental health concerns can further perpetuate the silence surrounding these issues. While faith and spirituality can provide comfort and support, exclusively attributing mental health challenges to spiritual shortcomings can hinder individuals from seeking professional help and receiving appropriate treatment.

It’s important to recognize that this silent mental health crisis not only affects individuals but also has broader implications for the overall well-being of these communities. In honor of this year’s BIPOC Mental Health Month, we recognize the significance of culture, community, and connection in the context of South Asian mental health. South Asian communities have shown remarkable resilience, drawing strength from their collective spirit and cultural heritage. By fostering culture, community, and connection, and reaching out for help, South Asian individuals can not only heal themselves but also contribute to the healing and resilience of their communities. This emphasis on connection is a powerful tool in navigating the unique mental health challenges faced by South Asian communities.

In order to set the foundation for change, there are a few important steps that individuals and communities can take to overcome these issues and prioritize mental health and make a real difference.

1. Break the taboo around mental health – or at least begin the conversation.

The taboo around mental health can prevent individuals from seeking help when they need it most. Therefore, it is important to create a safe space where individuals can talk openly about their mental health concerns without fear of judgment or stigma. Don’t use confusing clinical language since South Asians can be more comfortable with words such as “stress, anxiety, or weakness” over medical terms like “major depression” and “psychosis.”

2. Educate individuals about mental health.

Many South Asians may not understand the signs and symptoms of mental illness or not know how to seek help. By educating individuals about mental health, we can empower them to recognize when they or their loved ones may need support and seek help when necessary. Find resources in the Mental Health America BIPOC Mental Health Month toolkit.

3. Increase access to mental health resources.

In many South Asian communities, there may be a lack of access to mental health resources, or individuals may not know where to go when needing help. Therefore, it is important to provide culturally appropriate mental health services that are accessible and affordable to all individuals, regardless of their background or financial situation. It’s also important to convey information in languages that will reach all audiences.

4. Involve the community in mental health initiatives.

Communities can come together to create support groups or organize events to raise awareness about mental health. This can help break down the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage individuals to seek help when they need it.

It is important to recognize that mental health is just as important as physical health, and it is crucial that individuals prioritize their mental well-being. By normalizing mental health, educating individuals, increasing access to mental health resources, and involving the community in mental health initiatives, we can work towards overcoming the silent mental health crisis in South Asian communities. We must prioritize mental health and create a culture that values and supports it.

Nishat Uddin, MPH, is the founder of Brown Girls Health.


The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…


Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.


Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at: