Tamil Women’s Development Group


   “Journey to Wellbeing”

Call to the South Asian Community in Sydney to join the important conversation about mental wellbeing.

March 2019

Tamil Women’s Development Group (TWDG) together with Haathi in the Room (HIR) are calling on the South Asian community in Sydney to join an important conversation about mental health on Saturday 4 May at the Parramatta RSL from 1.00-5.00 pm.

"Journey to Wellbeing” is a unique mental health promotion initiative, the second of such collaborations by TWDG and HIR, designed to address issues specific to the local South Asian community. Through art, story-telling and literature “Journey to Wellbeing” aims to raise awareness of mental health, reduce stigma, share knowledge and improve outcomes for our community. Join us and be a part of this important conversation to promote the health and wellbeing of the South Asian community in Sydney. 

Event highlights include, “Portraits of Recovery” by Joe Lander Artist in Residence, Macquarie University, Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology showcasing a series of portraits of male subjects who are on the road to recovery and will further demonstrate that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for those who suffer from mental illness. Through the artworks we hope to start the conversation about the attitude to mental health amongst males in the South Asian community that often gets overlooked. The event will also present a lived experience story promoting the de-stigmatising of mental health in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities by a woman ambassador of Beyond Blue aimed at both men and women. Journey to Wellbeing” will feature a Wesley Mission Workshop useful to all, on Resilience and Stress Management in the Workplace with the aim of promoting self-care. There will be time for networking and light refreshments with music for relaxation and meditation.

“People from a CALD background have a significantly lower level of access to mental health care and support in the wider community.”Fact sheet Department of Health.

Research has found South Asian Australians are considerably less likely to seek help from mental health professionals compared to the general Australian population, this is especially significant in our male population. Mental Health Commission (MHC) NSW research indicates that the attitudes, beliefs and practices of CALD communities like the emerging South Asian community in NSW and the effects of migration, language barriers, education and employment challenges impact mental health for both men and women. According to MHC NSW, many studies have shown that there is a strong link between the level of cultural adjustment and an immigrant’s state of mental health. Furthermore, their research states that isolation, frustration, anxiety and the culture shock in adjusting to a society with different social and political structures, values, expectations, beliefs and practices impact mental health. Additionally, some may have experienced torture and trauma in their country of origin adding to the stresses of settlement in a new country. Furthermore, MHC NSW refer to statistics that indicate that immigrants are under-represented in data regarding accessing mental health services. Numerous reasons play a part in the lack of accessing services amongst which stigma associated with mental illness plays a pivotal role.

Journey to Wellbeing aims to address these challenges by providing the community a platform to discuss these issues with the aim of de-stigmatising mental health and improving the mental wellbeing in the community.

Monica Das from Haathi in the Room, says: The aim of the event is to create a space where the community can have an open dialogue around mental health, and by doing so, normalise the conversation.”

TWDG’s Sathya says: “Through this event, we urge the community to start the conversation with family and friends about the importance of prioritising mental well-being in our community. This will lead the way in bringing mental health into the light and free from stigma.”  

Opening the dialogue and sharing stories by those who have experienced mental health issues, or those who are carers will be essential to the success of improving mental health in our community.

This is a ticketed event at the Parramatta RSL, 2 Macquarie St, Parramatta NSW 2150.
All net proceeds will be donated to Beyond Blue.
For further information, contact Nitasha at Haathiintheroom90@gmail.com OR Manju at TamilWDG@gmail.com

The Tamil Women's Development Group (TWDG) aims to empower women in the areas of health, social and economic well­being. Formed in 2012, TWDG contributes to the development of the Tamil community with focus on women and the capacity building of the community.
Damayanthy Umasaran: 0418 160 763
Instagram: @tamil.womens.development.group

Haathi in the Room came about as an initiative to challenge the stigma and create awareness about mental illness within the South Asian community. The name “Haathi (elephant) in the room” refers to mental illness regarded as the elephant in the room - an issue people are aware of but afraid to talk about.
Sue Advani: 0417 210 268

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