Manathil Uruthi Vendum – Let’s Talk Healthy Minds

AiWGx6Dl0wuI1IR-9_trXMCVy31GlZvTxudIcM5f0a8PIt’s important to create awareness about mental health in order to establish a safe environment to talk about mental health and mental illness within the Tamil community without being judged or labelled. The Tamil community is still suffering with stigma due to lack of knowledge about mental health, mental illness and cultural barriers. Many people are reluctant to seek help or have an open discussion about mental illness because of the stigma. In Tamil, the terms “visar”, “Paithiyam” and the phrase “pai pidichirukku” are loosely thrown around without regard for how it might impact an individual. By creating awareness about mental health, we are educating the public about being mindful of what they say.

People often think that if we or someone in our family are not directly affected by a “serious” mental illness, we don’t need to engage in conversations related to mental health. But, the reality is that people who struggle with mental health problems suffer in silence. So, friends and families of individuals who have mental health problems should be proactive and educate themselves in order to support our loved ones. This also helps to mobilize stronger voices and leaders who then can go into the community and reach out to those who are struggling with mental health problems.

There is lack of knowledge about resources when it comes to seeking appropriate help for mental health problems. Community groups and organizations seem to operate in silos, which leads to lack of knowledge about existing services, overlap of services or repetitive efforts or gap in services. This challenge can be overcome through an increased interest from the community and mobilizing allies and advocates which creates more dialogues and stronger forces to combat stigma. By working collaboratively with other community agencies and partners, we can identify gaps in services and voice the need for culturally sensitive programs and increase exposure to existing resources. We can definitely create more effective and greater impact when we come together.

That’s why a few non-profit organizations in the social sector have come together to pave the road to have an open and positive discussion on mental health and mental illness. Our objective is to encourage people from the Tamil community to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health. Our aim is to promote action that changes attitudes and behaviours toward mental health. This journey began in 2014 and with the support of individuals, community groups and organizations, we are entering our second year hosting the “Manathil Uruthi Vendum” workshop and with everyone’s continuous support, we hope to work towards fostering knowledge and improving collaboration both within the Tamil community and mainstream. This is a free event and we welcome everyone from the community to come out to our workshop. If you are interested, please register at

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