Non-profit helping Punjabi men with their mental health

Tuesday 07th January 2020 17:39 EST

Accepting that you need help with your mental health can be difficult for anyone but in some communities it is harder to access help than others.

Taraki is an organisation that was founded in response to 'a need for a safe space for Punjabi men' to talk openly about how their mental health is affecting them.

Every month the group run a forum called 'Chai in the City' where attendees can 'express themselves, learn and build community in a, secure and non-judgemental space'.

The free-to-attend events are ran by volunteers every month at the John Lewis Community Hub in Grand Central.

Volunteer, Amardeep Singh from Oldbury leads the event alongside working at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals.

Amardeep told BirminghamLive how men are often discouraged from coming forward about their struggles.

He said: "Suicide is the biggest cause of death in young men today. In many communities men are discouraged from acknowledging mental ill health.

"Denial, social isolation and a lack of awareness of how to manage mental health issues all compound the problem for many.

"I am involved with Taraki because I want to help bring about a change of approach to mental health within the Punjabi community by facilitating dialogue  among Punjabi males.

"We have held five Chai in the City forums thus far. The feedback from attendees has been positive. We hope to continue providing a forum for open discussion on a wide range of important subjects requested by attendees."

The events have been so well received by the community that they are talking about expanding to run more events for women and the transgender and non-binary communities.

According to the Mental Health Foundation South Asian women seem to be an at-risk group for suicide or suicide attempts within their communities across England and Wales.

The Foundation also note that people from ethnic minority backgrounds may be less likely to report experiencing mental health problems because of a stigma against it in their communities.

Attendee, Narayan Kainth from Handsworth Wood has praised the initiative for it's welcoming environment and positive impact on the community.

"Before attending the forum I was reluctant because I thought that I would be judged, but when I attended I felt so welcomed, nobody was judging and I felt as though I wanted to go back next time.

"Now I go every month as it opens your eyes to certain topics and how they truly impact people, it's been amazing to learn with everyone."

Taraki also hold spaces for Punjabi women and non-binary folk in Birmingham. For more information to go

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