• Our Soch Team

Handling mental health in a south asian household during the Coronavirus era

As children of South Asian immigrants, we can sometimes feel a sense of reluctance going to our parents with topics like depression or suicidal ideology.

South Asian mental health has been stigmatized for ages and a lot of this stems from the societal pressure to be the ‘perfect Indian child’ and always hosts the underlying thought “Log kya kahenge” (translating to what will people say?) in the back of our minds.

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, many of us are at home with a lack of access to culturally safe mental health services. Being at home could definitely cause feelings of unrest, lack of productivity, loneliness, and even feeling trapped inside our own thoughts.

The first step to solving or analyzing these problems that we face during these times is to recognize that our feelings are valid, even if our parents or other family members make it seem as if they are not.

Realizing that mental illness can look different for everyone and understanding that we are right in our own minds can help us internalize the way we feel and figure out methods of self-care.

Personally, I come from a desi family that is all about teaching me and my sibling to be independent and to take care of ourselves, however, I know that not all Indian parents are like this.

Mental wellness during a pandemic is learning to have independence in an environment that may/may not nurture it. By setting aside time or activity in the day just for ourselves, we give our mind a break and a sense of independence from being in a household where we please our parents constantly.

This could be small tasks like taking longer showers, waking up early to have the morning to yourself, or even going on a walk. For first-generation teenagers, in order to take care of our mental health, we have to put ourselves first sometimes.

Whenever you feel the pressure from your parents weighing on you more, remind yourself that it is your turn to take charge of your mental wellbeing and that you can be respectful to your parents while also putting yourself first.

Additionally, given that it is summer and most of us are out of school, we can finally give ourselves a break from constant studying and school pressure. However, if you feel that your parents are still pressuring you to be productive or tend to guilt-trip you about not doing anything during your break, remind yourself that everyone is stuck at home right now.

It is normal to not be productive in an environment that isn’t your ideal work environment. It is okay to not be productive every day even if your parents pressure you otherwise. There is no doubt that our everyday lives often used to be a distraction from our mental health and from a hectic South Asian household. But as we sit at home with a new quality of life, we should try to work with what we have while keeping our mental wellbeing in mind.

Remember, you as a first-gen immigrant are not required to feel the way your parents feel, and you are not required to view situations as they do. Rather, you have the advantage of taking their experiences and mixing them with your own to create a unique identity for yourself.

I hope all of you take time to check in with yourselves, take some time out of your day to heal your mind, and nurture your emotional growth. Please stay strong, stay healthy, and stay happy!

South Asian Mental Health Resources:

South Asian sexual abuse hotline and resources: https://www.apichaya.org

General resources and info: https://www.mannmukti.org/

To find South Asian mental health providers: https://samhin.org/provider-directory/

E-counseling for anywhere in the world: https://www.themoodspace.com/


About Me

Hello everyone! My name is Astha Soni and I am a teenage South-Asian blogger. I was born in India but moved to the United States at a very young age. I come from a Punjabi/Hindu family and I’ve been brought up very educated and cultured about where I come from and what my identity is as a child of immigrants. I run a mental health blog specifically for South-Asian teenagers known as The Essence of Self where I share my experiences and advice about how to nurture your emotional growth in a foreign household. I am starting college this year majoring in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience and I hope to become a Pediatrician while working with immigrant children! Thank you for taking the time to get to know me, and I am so excited to partner with Our Soch to write this piece!

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