There are many perks to living in a city like Toronto, a drive down to Young and Dundas for shopping and a movie, a few blocks up to Young and Bloor for some delicious Shawarma, or Front and Jarvis St. for some grocery shopping at St. Lawrence Market. I feel confident in saying that you can find practically anything in this city. Continue reading The Effects of Stigma on Accessing Mental Health Care
Like in all communities, mental illness is an uncomfortable topic to talk about for Bangladeshis. There is a predominant belief that mental illness doesn’t touch us. We look at the outside community and say mental illness is something that affects them, not us.
I think we need to reconsider this notion. According to a national survey carried out in Bangladesh, it’s estimated that about 16% of the population is affected by mental health problems. This is not very different from the 1 in 5 Canadians statistic we often hear about for mental illness.
I came to Canada with my family in 1996 with big dreams and aspirations. Four years after we arrived in Canada, my brother committed suicide and shortly afterwards my sister was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It took me and my family 15 years to overcome grief and start talking about this openly. In 2012 I finally understood that silence makes things much worse for those struggling with mental health, and it affects their families similarly. This is when I created a blog site called Side by Side, initially as a personal blog to share my feeling and thoughts. In less than six months my blog had more than 3000 followers. I found each post received dozens of comments and active discussion. This is when I realized that I was not alone and that my simple blog had the possibility of serving as a much needed platform for support, open conversation, and empowerment. It has now grown into an online magazine whose purpose is to create positive change in the field of mental health. Currently I’m studying to become a Psychotherapist. This is my story as a young immigrant to Canada where I learned to move from deep loss and grief to becoming an active mental health advocate. Continue reading Nilam Chhetri, Making Mental Health Matter