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Arun is a South Asian male that began seeking help for his mental health issues 8 years ago after experiencing a period of very bad mental health towards the end of his time at university. He explains that he felt like he had to seek out help otherwise things wouldn’t get better and he didn’t want to feel like that for the rest of his life. Arun sought out help and began having 1 - 1 CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) sessions, but he stopped the sessions as he felt that it wasn’t something he could do that that time. However, he recently began continuing sessions through a mental health charity where he was receiving CBT therapy sessions via phone; Arun is now trying to implement the techniques he has learnt through CBT as the sessions come to an end. Arun expresses that he has a large support system, especially his parents who are very supportive and helped him seek out help. He states that his family have been there for him whilst he was figuring out his depression diagnosis and they have told him that they just want to help him get better. Along with support from family and friends, Arun has also received an outpour of support from strangers due to his art based mental health awareness advocacy; he has used photography, filmmaking, and poetry to raise awareness of the importance of mental health issues in the South Asian community. When asked if he thought that his South Asian background has negatively impacted your mental health, he stated that it wasn’t a massive contributing factor, rather ‘grains’ added on top of experience. He expresses that it isn’t normalised to speak your feelings/emotions, especially as a south Asian male; he felt like he had to just ‘man up’ and accept how he was feeling because he had nowhere to turn for fear of being a burden. He also states how in the beginning of his mental health journey he thought his South Asian background hindered the amount of support he received, but he is now no longer afraid to speak up about his feelings which has been an eye-opening experience for him. If he could be completely open and honest to his family about his mental health issues, he would tell them that sometimes he is sad, but he is dealing with trauma, and he will be okay. When asked how South Asian communities could improve their response to mental health, Arun responded by stating the importance of normalising conversations. Conversations about mental health are seen as a taboo subject but, this should be normalised. Moving forward we should create a safe space to speak about our problems and feel relieved after confiding about your struggles instead of afraid of the response. A person isn’t identified as the trauma or mental health issue they have. Arun also added that felt more confident in conversations being normalised because this current project proves that the approach to mental health issues in the South Asian community is evolving.
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