In the South Asian culture, we simply don’t talk about mental health
It was a raw March day when the patrol car pulled into Dimple’s driveway. An officer carried the devastating news that Dimple’s mom had taken her own life.
It took me a long time to process that my mother’s death was a suicide. There is such a stigma about mental health in my culture. At first, I just did not know how to explain it, or even approach it. I felt like I had to hide behind the truth, as I “should not” talk about it. It made me so angry.
Dimple says there were signs. Her mother rarely went out in public and stopped doing the things she once enjoyed. She was worried that she did not fit in, and wondered what people would think of her.
It was so much to deal with. It’s been five years, and I can’t get myself to read the letter she left. I’m not ready to say goodbye.
Dimple has battled mental health issues herself. When she was 21, she fractured her pelvis in a serious car crash. The panic attacks began once she went back to college, where she was majoring in pre-med at the time. Her parents told her she would be fine, but Dimple sought therapy.
I walked into DePaul University’s counseling center and never looked back. I changed my major to psychology, and every class I had helped me understand my trauma better.
Dimple is proud to be the first in her family to finish high school, and a four-year college, and then go on to graduate school. She looks forward to applying for her internship next year and hopes to work in a psychiatric hospital setting, particularly with children and adolescents. She is also committed to advocacy. Dimple serves as a team captain for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Chicagoland Out of the Darkness fundraising walk to benefit suicide prevention. In addition, she serves on the Associate Board of Directors for PROJECT 375. Dimple hopes to continue to knock down the stigma so prevalent around South Asian mental health.
My parents have taught me so much growing up, but now I’m educating my family on mental health issues. I want others to join me and speak up about mental health issues in the South Asian culture. This issue is too important to keep quiet. I have found my voice, and I want to share it with as many people as I can.