ASHA Interantional turns 10!

Happy World Mental Health Day!

10th-anniversary-2Ten years ago, I started ASHA International with a simple wish – to share the lessons I had learned in pain to give hope to at least one person struggling with a mental health issue. Thanks to your love and support, over the years my colleagues and I have had the privilege of reaching out and touching the lives of more than 45,000 people nationally and internationally with a resounding message of  hope and healing.

According to the World Health Organization, mental health issues impose an enormous disease burden on societies across the world. Between 1990 and 2013, the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety increased by nearly 50%, from 416 million to 615 million. Despite its enormous health, social and economic burden, mental disorders continue to be driven into the shadows by stigma, prejudice and fear.

At ASHA International, we are dedicated to bringing mental health issues out of the shadows and into the light. We are also dedicated to destigmatizing mental health issues and empowering people to find the treatment and support they need to recover and thrive.

Please give the Gift of Hope today, and partner with us as we embark on another exciting decade dedicated to promoting mental health and wellness at home, at school, at work, and in the community. Together, we can change lives, perhaps even save lives.

Namaste,

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Founder & President, ASHA International

You Can Recover – Chacku’s Message of Hope

Ever since I met Chacku at a conference nearly a decade ago, he has been a brother and dear friend to me. A loving son, husband and father, Chacku is dedicated to creating a better world for us all. He is the Director of the NAMI STAR Center and a leader in the Peer Movement, a movement that once saved his life.
As a toddler, Chacku moved to the U.S. from Kuwait and growing up, he didn’t feel like he belonged. He was bullied at school and watched his parents treated with hostility, and started to mistrust everyone including his family. Feeling unsafe and unable to cope with his feelings of isolation and dread, he got into fights and began using drugs. And, at fifteen, he tried to kill himself. Fortunately, his father sought help at their local church and Chacku discovered peers who empathized with his struggles and inspired him to discover his life’s purpose – to help others like himself. “Our struggles often help us discover who we are, and our purpose in life” Chacku says, “We are the evidence that recovery is possible.”
Give Hope
DO YOU HAVE A RECOVERY STORY?
Share your story. Give hope. Change a life.

How to support a loved one struggling with mental health issues

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When I fist started struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and depression at eighteen, my family and I had no understanding about mental health issues. Unfortunately, neither did the doctors, many of whom told my parents that I was just being a “drama queen,” a “typical teenager.” “Tough love” was prescribed and doled out each day, which only alienated me from my parents and turned them into strangers I feared. Eventually, I began feeling like a pariah in my own home, and began to crumble without their love, understanding and support. Over the years, our home which was once a fortress of love, became a prison from which I couldn’t escape.

It wasn’t until I had survived through seven years of hell and tried to kill myself, that my parents finally took me to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with depression for the first time, and began to treat me. It took two more years of failed suicide attempts and hospitalizations before my family and I finally began to educate ourselves about mental health issues. A caring intern at the hospital told my family that it wasn’t enough for me to educate myself about depression, it was critical that they educat themselves about mental health issues, if they wanted to support me in my road to recovery and wellness. Fortunately, my parents did, and have since grown into the greatest support system in my life. Over the years, they have also reached out to others struggling in the community.

According to the World Health Organization, one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. Treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. Stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders.

I sincerely believe that families and caregivers can be the greatest support system to a loved one struggling with mental health issues. But, they often don’t know how to help. They are often confused and overwhelmed in encouraging a loved one to seek the treatment and support they need. Please see the infographic below developed by NAMI and HealthCentral for some ideas on how to support a loved one struggling with mental health issues. Please share this blog post with your friends and family. You never know whose life you can change, perhaps even save.

How to help a loved one

The Cause + Event Race Series

October 18, 2015

Cause and Event photoEvery race has a cause. No race has EVERY cause…until NOW.

The Cause + Event Race Series is unlike any other race series of its kind. The runner (or walker) chooses their favorite registered 501(c)3 nonprofit and their cause will receive at least half of the racer’s registration.

Join ASHA International’s HOPEBRINGERS team and help us raise funds to promote mental health awareness, and bring hope and healing to people’s lives.

Date: Octobber 18, 2015
What: 5k walk/5k & 10k run
Where: Bethany Village, Portland, OR
Time: 7:30-8:30 am
Cost: $35 includes bib and chip timing plus $15 donation to the cause of your choice.

And a Free Kids Fun Run – Tot Trot and 1K

To register, please click here 

Click To Register
  1. Under Team Registration, please click on Join an Existing Team
  2. Please click on join ASHA International’s HopeBringers and complete the registration form. Thanks!
  3. To learn about 2015 Cause and Event please click below
Click To Learn More About the Cause & Event

Please register today and invite your friends, family, and colleagues to join us. Thank you!

If you have any questions, please email Gayathri Ramprasad at gayathri@myasha.org or call 971 340 7190.

We look forward to seeing you at the event!

The healing power of art

Art helps us expreslittle girl with braceletss our deepest selves even when words fail us.

Years ago, I was hospitalized after a suicide attempt. The only thing that kept me alive was the daily visit by my daughter and husband. While I desperately wanted to see my daughter, I was deeply troubled that she would be traumatized by her visits to the psychiatric ward. And, so each day, I created a little gift for her – a necklace, a bracelet with beads, stained-glass Christmas ornaments, or a teddy bear made of yarn. My daughter is now a young woman and it warms my heart that she cherishes these gifts I made for her and remembers her visits to the hospital with fondness not fear.

I offer my deepest gratitude to the occupational therapist in the hospital who taught me that even amidst pain, I could create objects that brought joy to another person.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jeffrey Sparr, Co-Founder of Peace Love Studios and was inspired to learn how he uses painting to combat anxiety. Jeff is a man on an audacious mission – a mission to make mental illness cool. Not cool to have, but cool to support.

Art heals. Art makes us whole. So, go ahead and tap into your creativity and enjoy the healing power of art.

The post The healing power of art appeared first on Shadows in the Sun by Gayathri Ramprasad.

Be the Hope

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!

In April 1989, a stranger came to visit me in the most unlikely of places, a psychiatric ward and gave me the gift of hope that changed my life forever, and continues to transform the lives of thousands of people around the world. Although her visit was short, she taught me that a random act of kindness can give hope and change a life forever. For years, I have wanted to share her story with the world. And, on May 2nd, I finally had the opportunity to do so at TEDx MtHood. Hope my TED talk inspires you to BE THE HOPE, change a life, and heal the world, one person at a time.

Please share my TED talk with your family, friends, and colleagues and encourage them to BE THE HOPE. Thank you!

The post Be the Hope appeared first on Shadows in the Sun by Gayathri Ramprasad.

The Healing Power of Anger

A couple of days ago, I watched an awe-inspiring TED Talk by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi offering a surprising piece of advice to anyone who wants to change the world for the better: Get angry at injustice. In his powerful talk, he shared how a lifetime of peace-making sprang from a lifetime of outrage.

I invite you to watch this incredible talk and get inspired to channel your anger at injustice into a healing force to create a more just and peaceful world for all of us.Like many of you, I was raised to perceive anger to be a destructive emotion, one which I needed to suppress and control. But, listening to Kailash speak helped me realize that anger can be transformed into collective action to overcome many a global injustice – whether it is child labor or the stigma and discrimination marginalizing the lives of people living with mental illness.

The post The Healing Power of Anger appeared first on Shadows in the Sun by Gayathri Ramprasad.

Let’s talk about suicide

life-is-a-beautiful-giftA couple of weeks ago, I was heartbroken to hear about the suicidal death of a ten-year-old boy in my community. As a mother and mental health advocate, I realize how difficult it is to talk about suicide, a topic that has long been shrouded in shame and secrecy. But, it is time for us to break the silence and talk about suicide. According to the World Health Organization, suicide claims nearly 800,000 lives each year.

Every 40 seconds suicide claims the life of a person around the world – someone’s child, brother, sister, mother, father, family member or friend. Suicide is preventable. There is help. There is hope.

There are three steps all of us can take to prevent suicide:

  1. Awareness: Educate ourselves about the warning signs of suicide
  2. Acceptance: Create a culture of acceptance where a person can talk about their suicidal ideation without the fear of being judged, discriminated against or penalized
  3. Action: If you, a family member or a friend is feeling suicidal, get help

As a woman who has survived several suicide attempts, I have learned that even the darkest moments of despair can be overcome if we can ask and accept help. Life is a precious gift worth fighting for.

To learn more about how you can prevent suicide, please click here…

The post Let’s talk about suicide appeared first on Shadows in the Sun by Gayathri Ramprasad.

The Healing Power of Nutrition

Mother and Daughter Cooking“Gayu, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” my mother used to insist, “It’s not enough to know how to do calculus. It is also important to know how to cook.” 
 

 

In time I learned how to cook healthy, well-balanced, nutritious meals which greatly enhanced my marriageability in India, and more importantly, empowered me to nurture myself and my family in America. Even during my darkest battles with depression, cooking and sharing meals with my family gave me a deep sense of meaning and purpose. 

 

It is said that “A family that eats together stays together.” I sincerely believe “A family that eats together stays healthy together.” Over the years, cooking and sharing meals with my family each day has continued to be a great source of joy and well-being. 

  

In this post, I am delighted to share articles on the healing power of nutrition. And, invite you to explore how it can nurture your mind, body and soul. As Hippocrates once said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 
 
  

Wishing you wellness, 

   

Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS 

Founder & President, ASHA International

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The Healing Power of Intention

Hope your new year is off to a great start! 

Each new year fills me with gratitude for the year past and excitement for the year ahead. And, it offers me the opportunity to reflect on past accomplishments and set new goals.Years ago, I discovered a beautiful quote about the Power of Intention which has empowered me to realize many a goal whether it be to enhance my well-being, bring hope and healing to people, or cherish the relationships in my life. Hope it inspires you as well!

 

 

“You are what your deepest desire is.

As you desire, so is your intention.

As your intention is, so is your will.

As your will is, so is your deed.             

As your deed is, so is your destiny.”

– Upanishads

 

Click here to see a  wonderful video by Wayne Dyer about how to harness the power of intention. Enjoy!

 

Wishing you Wellness,