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HomeNewsOldham Temple to host mental health awareness event for south Asians

Oldham Temple to host mental health awareness event for south Asians

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The Shree Swaminarayan Mandir in Oldham is preparing to host a pivotal well-being event aimed at combating mental health stigmas in south Asian communities.

Organised by the temple’s youth group, Yuvak Mandal, known for their dedication to community service, this event aims to address the importance of mental health awareness across different age groups within the temple’s diverse congregation, a press release by the temple’s PR agency said.

Partnering with local mental health charities, the Yuvak Mandal has taken a significant step towards breaking the silence on mental health issues that often go unaddressed in south Asian communities.

Young People at Oldham Temple
Young People at Oldham Temple

“It’s so important to address mental health within our community and emphasise the need for accessible support networks,” said Devisha Vekria, a key member of the Yuvak Mandal committee.

Through personal experience within her multigenerational household, Vekria has observed the profound impact of mental health stigma, particularly among the elderly, noting, “I have seen first-hand how mental health stigma can affect us, especially in older generations.”

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“Things are changing and improving slowly but there are a lot of families who face difficulties and don’t know where to turn. We wanted to do something to help educate the community about what support is available to them,” said Devisha.

The initiative seeks to dismantle the barriers created by stigma, which frequently labels individuals as weak or dismissive of their struggles, perpetuating a cycle of silence and suffering and leading to underreporting within families to protect their reputation.

This issue, stemming from insufficient education and awareness, underscores the critical importance of community events that disseminate mental health information and resources.

The event, scheduled for February 24 at 7 pm, will feature influential speakers like Madhubhen Thaker, founder of Anmol Cancer Support Group and a volunteer at Tameside Oldham and Glossop (TOG) Mind highlighting the temple’s active role in fostering a supportive and informed community.

Karen Hughes of TOG Mind emphasised the organisation’s commitment to improving mental health in the community: “TOG Mind strives to enable everyone in our communities to achieve better mental health,” she said.

“We actively seek to provide awareness to the public and groups through our new Mental Health Awareness sessions, aiming to tackle the stigma around mental health, and promote ways to wellbeing,” she added.

Since its inauguration in 1977 and the opening of its new Oldham site in August 2022, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir has evolved into a vital community hub.

Community at Oldham Temple
Community at Oldham Temple

Its collaboration with charity Saheli, a charity that aims to provide support and refuge from domestic abuse to women from Black, Asian and minority communities and their children exemplifies its broader mission to support vulnerable community members.

Anil Kara, a Trustee of the temple, underscored the importance of mental wellbeing, stating, “Mental health isn’t something that only affects one group of people, and it is essential that every generation knows that we support them.”

The temple’s proactive approach, spearheaded by the Yuvak Mandal, extends beyond this event, encompassing educational and interfaith initiatives that strengthen community bonds.

Praising the youth group’s contributions, Vinod Vekaria, the temple’s secretary said, “The upcoming wellness event is a testament to how forward-thinking they are.”

Shree Swaminarayan Mandir which is valued at £7 million, stands as a beacon of cultural and religious engagement in Oldham, funded entirely by volunteer contributions and hosting a wide array of events throughout the year.

Located in Oldham, England, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir is a distinguished Hindu temple that has become a cornerstone for religious and cultural festivities, including Diwali and other Hindu celebrations.

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