See how SAMHIN’s programs are making a difference in the South Asian community in the United States.
I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been thinking of you (Dr. Makhija) for a few days. A lot of messages have been circulated on social media and even between family and friends around the topic of mental health, especially during the current Covid-19 isolation period and certainly after Sushant Singh’s sudden suicide.
I think your work is very important and I am so grateful that you and your team give back to our community in such a positive and helpful way. The team does truly remarkable work, and it does not go unnoticed. I must have mentioned SAMHIN multiple times in my conversations with friends during the past few weeks. Kudos to you!
SAMHIN has been nothing but helpful especially these past few weeks to my family and I. I initially spoke with Pinki Patel about my mom. She was very supportive and caring over the phone. Pinki spent over an hour during our first conversation and continued to check in to see how things were going. She took down information and consulted her resources. She also recommended my father go to Arsha Bhoda for spiritual wellness; he had a great experience there. Everyone at Arsha Bhoda has been wonderful and resourceful. I strongly recommend SAMHIN to anyone and their family seeking mental health help. A mental health illness can be painful for both the patient and the family. It feels like a stigma in the South Asian community but it is important to seek help when needed. It is truly wonderful to see such a valuable resource such as SAMHIN out there.
I attended a SAMHIN’s workshop on suicide prevention on January 22, 2020, the first in my life. It was also the first time that I had actually received some guidance and training on how to actually address people who could be suicidal and how to identify some traits. It was a great session that highlighted the mental state of a suicidal person as well as how to deal with him/her.
The SAMHIN Suicide Prevention workshop in Jersey City on January 22, 2020 was an invaluable source of support for me. I hope that this initiative continues for more South Asians as we are a community that tends to stigmatize feelings of anxiety and depression. My own journey as a survivor of suicide loss at age 23 has inspired me to advocate for mental health and in the future save more lives as a health care provider.
Many people of South Asian origin now living in the US, whether from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, or those whose forefathers are of South Asian origin and have settled over several generations in countries like Guyana, Trinidad, Malaysia, South Africa, etc. all come from cultures who tend to downplay and dismiss the importance of medical help for those suffering from mental illness. Even when the family of the person with mental illness decides to get medical help they find that having an organization of doctors, therapists, etc. who are attuned to the sensitivities of their cultural background make it possible for the patient to seek and accept medical assistance.
It would be great for other South Asians to have access to an organization of physicians and medical and mental health professionals (SAMHIN) who would understand the specific social/cultural needs of the South Asian community especially with emphasis on mental illness.
Having a therapist of South Asian origin made me feel comfortable. He was able to understand my emotions based on my culture and provide me with the support I was looking for. Just having someone in the medical field to talk to who understood the intricacies of my cultural background was immensely helpful. It would be even more useful to all South Asians suffering from mental health issues to have access to a South Asian organization which provides a ready and updated source of mental health providers and resources who would have greater empathy and understanding.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for bringing together your unique experiences at the “Bridging the Gap” workshop and creating a very interactive workshop for the benefit of the community. The workshop was very well conducted and was very well received by all of the attendees. There was a lot of positive feedback.
The work has just begun and I hope we can work together to get more people’s attention on the topic of mental health within our Indian community and help remove the stigma associated with it. I salute your efforts towards that cause and hope to work with you all soon again.
Sanjay Phanse, President, IFMP, India Foundation of Metropolitan Princeton
Thanks for such wonderful organization – it has helped me a lot. And special thanks to Dr. Makhija and Paru Patel for their wonderful and generous talent and time. Thanks so much for all your help to the community – you folks are just wonderful.
Ramesh and Silvia Bhatia
May the South Asian Mental Health Initiative and Network achieve abundant success for many years for come. May this worthy organization touch the lives of many people in profound ways.
Charles Ciolino, MD, President, New Jersey Psychiatric Association