Need to Talk to Someone? This Tool Connects South Asian Therapists with South Asian Clients

Claudia Canavan
·3-min read
Photo credit: Holly Falconer - Getty Images
Photo credit: Holly Falconer - Getty Images

Like you know, the pandemic has poured petrol over the existing fire of the mental health crisis. According to a recent report from charity Mind: 'More than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said that their mental health has gotten worse during the period of lockdown restrictions, from early April to mid-May.'

If you need help with your mental health, call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393. If you need urgent help, call your local NHS urgent mental health helpline

The restrictions on seeing people you depend on for support and worries about the health of family and friends were reported as driving poor mental health, while sheer boredom was also noted as a big problem for young people.

If you find yourself in need of professional support at this time, and are in a position to pay for private treatment, though, you might want to ensure that your care comes from someone who understands your cultural and ethnic background. If you are of South Asian heritage, then, you should know about South Asian Therapists, a global directory that connects South Asian therapists with South Asian clients.

Launched in June 2020 by Raj Khaira (@rjkhr) a lawyer and anti-oppression activist, who worked alongside Poonam Saini, Creative Director at KISS Branding, amid the deep psychological toll of worldwide lockdown measures, the platform has rapidly helped thousands of people from around the world find a South Asian therapist near them.

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As well as providing support that is sensitive to specific cultural nuance, this also means that discussions of any racism – which research shows can be a trigger for mental health complications, as well as having a negative impact on overall health – can be held in a safe environment

Of the project, Khaira said: 'I think because I grew up in North America I’m pretty open about going to therapy. It’s something I’ve tried to discuss with my friends in the UK but they quickly gave up exploring it when they couldn’t find atherapist who could appreciate the cultural complexities of their backgrounds.'

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'Within South Asian communities there are many cultural nuances that Western practitioners could miss or not fully understand, creating misalignment between client and practitioner. At KISS we supported Rajin creating a credible, approachable and empowering brand. Creating a link to South Asian culture whilst avoiding stereotypical imagery was vital, so we paired a contemporary colour palette with uplifting, quirky and relatable illustrations,' added Saini.

Where to find free help for your mental health

If you're struggling with your mental health and need help, try these resources:

  • Call the Mind infoline, for signposting on where to seek help: 0300 123 3393

  • Go to your GP, and explain your symptoms - they can offer you medical help

  • You can refer yourself for an online NHS therapy programmes nhs.uk/service-search

  • If you just want to talk to someone, call the Samaritans 116 123

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