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My Story: Immigration Through COVID-19 – Yamini Rajan

My Story: Immigration Through COVID-19 – Yamini Rajan

When COVID first struck, I, like many other college students found myself back in my childhood bedroom. We abruptly transitioned to lectures on Zoom, curfews, and memories of high school while convincing ourselves that we would be back at school soon enough. Yet, while I adjusted to the new normal, I had to simultaneously prepare myself for another drastic change. We first heard that we would have to move back in October 2019, about two months into my freshman year of college. “There’s a backlog in processing green cards right now,” my dad explained as we drove to the airport at the end of Fall Break. In theory, the problem seemed simple, our visas were expiring and the hold in the immigration system meant we wouldn’t be receiving our permanent residency in time, which meant we would have to leave the U.S. But the reality of this situation consumed our family for the following ten months. It meant my dad leaving the U.S for three months in an effort to extend our visas and my mom staying up for nights on end trying to comprehend complex legal jargon and coordinating calls between lawyers. It meant my sister having to go to school every day knowing that the senior year she had been looking forward to for the past three years would no longer be happening. For me, it meant watching my family undergo all of these two thousand miles away and try to balance my life in college at the same time. Every conversation revolved around new updates from the lawyers, trying to learn the names of different immigration forms,...
Mental Health For All – A Conversation with Dr. Vikram Patel

Mental Health For All – A Conversation with Dr. Vikram Patel

I recently had an insightful and thought-provoking conversation with Dr. Vikram Patel on how to address inequities in mental health care and ensure mental health for all. Dr. Vikram Patel is The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Blavatnik Institute’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is a co-founder of Sangath, an Indian NGO which won the MacArthur Foundation’s International Prize for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2008 and was listed in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential persons of the year in 2015. His accomplishments are far too many to...
Happy World Mental Health Day!

Happy World Mental Health Day!

October 10th is World Mental Health Day. It’s a day to remind ourselves that mental health is an integral part of our well-being. And, take time each day to nurture our mental health. Over the last seven months, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended and impacted every aspect of our lives – including our mental health. The uncertainly, fears, isolation and loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is having a detrimental impact on our mental health & wellbeing. And, it’s ok to not feel ok. You are not alone. We are here to help. We have over 150 Stories of Hope, a wide range of Health & Wellness Articles, and a list of organizations to help you and your loved ones take care of your mental health & wellbeing. Please check out these resources on our website. Be safe. Be strong. Together, we will emerge through these difficult times kinder, stronger and more resilient....
My story – surviving the loss of my beloved daughter Priya

My story – surviving the loss of my beloved daughter Priya

    My name is Geetha Balagopal.   My beloved daughter Priya was lost to suicide on January 10th 2016 during her 4th suicide attempt. Priya was a beautiful girl, a quiet, introverted, brilliant and dignified child, who excelled in whatever activity she participated in.  The anxiety was always there but I was not aware of it.  She was bullied in school and it started very early – in Kindergarten.  I never knew about it.  She didn’t have many friends but got calls from classmates who needed help with homework.  During the summer of her junior year in high school, she told me that she has OCD.  My response was “you have too much time on your hands disorder” Having been raised in a culture where you are conditioned to “just do what is required without complaining”- I didn’t realize the seriousness of it. Priya left home when she was 15 and a half years old to join the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, (a boarding school for highly gifted high school kids) around the same time she told me that she had OCD.  She only came home one day a month – and she only called or texted if she needed supplies or food.  She made new friends, fell in love with Indian dance and I was happy for her. One day in early 2009, I was driving Priya back to school –about to merge on the highway, when she said that she feels hopeless and that “life is not worth living”.  I almost ran off the road but kept my voice calm and asked her why...
Journal of an anxious soul

Journal of an anxious soul

If the voice in your head is constantly telling you that ‘you are not doing enough’ or ‘you are not enough’, it is probably your anxiety speaking. Because of this voice in your head, if you tend to overwork yourself and still tend to criticize yourself – guess what? It is anxiety! If you constantly feel your mind is playing tricks with you – making you overthink and over-analyze situations or people’s actions/reactions, and seek external validation to determine your self-worth, it is probably your anxiety speaking. If you struggle to say ‘NO’ and tend to overextend yourself, it is a manifestation of your anxious behavior. If you are hard on yourself and feel excessive guilt for small things like saying ‘NO’ to someone, taking time off work, gaining weight….and the list is endless, again – it is again your anxiety taking over. If you feel you are battling your own thoughts 24*7, it is probably anxiety. If you have moments where your mind is clouded with obsessive thoughts and you have difficulty concentrating, it is probably anxiety. When did I realize I had anxiety? I have lived with anxiety for close to 10 years now! Gosh! Imagine having to deal with all those thoughts on an everyday basis – it is so exhausting! I realized I had anxiety last year after a breakup when my life started to seem like a mess. I would try and concentrate on work but was unable to concentrate due to the obsessive thoughts conquering my head. Daily tasks seemed to overwhelm me, and my heart would start racing as I would begin...
Hope Lives. Shame Kills. And What About Reality?

Hope Lives. Shame Kills. And What About Reality?

“Stories are living and dynamic. Stories exist to be exchanged. They are the currency of Human Growth.”  Jean Houston, PhD Twenty-five years ago, these words flowed out of me: “Balanced within exultation and despair is the state of mind called reality.” The words were written above the title, States of Mind, and beneath the title was the author’s name: Leslie D’Angelo. The self-publisher? Resources for Living. And what was States of Mind? The chaos in my mind. The yearning in my heart. An embodied voice that needed more than anything else to feel, to write, to speak, and be heard. My name is Diane Kaufman. What experiences have I had and how do I allow them to define me? Or do I dare to define myself? Here goes…. I am a suicide survivor. I am a poet, artist, child psychiatrist, humanism in medicine awardee, and founder of Arts Medicine for Hope & Healing, ARTS for Living, and Creative Life Lines. I am still becoming who I am. I am a hurt little girl who grew into a sensitive and brave woman. I have Bipolar II Disorder. I am a mother, a grandmother, a sister, Aunt, and friend. Most of all I want to be a humane human being and I don’t want to stop growing. I want to cultivate and share the gifts I was born to give – just as we all are born with special gifts to help illuminate the world from human inflicted darkness. Who was this Leslie D’Angelo? My middle name is Leslie. Perhaps I wanted to be an angel. D is first initial of...
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