GOPIO-CT Hosts Virtual Seminar to Promote Mental Health Awareness in South Asian Community

Featured & Cover GOPIO CT Hosts Virtual Seminar to Promote Mental Health Awareness in South Asian Community

Speakers at the virtual seminar organized by GOPIO-CT to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, Top row, l. to r. Mini Santosh, Japa Daptardar; Bottom row: from l. to r. Dr. Mohini Ranganathan and Dr. Thomas Abraham

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – Connecticut Chapter (GOPIO-CT) recently held an engaging virtual seminar in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International and Trustee of GOPIO-CT, opened the seminar by introducing GOPIO and its Connecticut chapter, outlining their various activities and ways to get involved. He then introduced GOPIO-CT President Jaya Daptardar, who spearheaded the organization of this wellness seminar and panel discussion on May 30, 2024, via Zoom. The event received a positive response from the attendees.

The seminar’s theme was “Embracing Wellness and Cultivating Mental Health Awareness,” and it featured a distinguished and diverse panel of speakers. The panelists included Dr. Mohini Ranganathan, an associate professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a practicing psychiatrist for two decades; Dr. Jaya Daptardar, an Ayurvedic Doctor with 25 years of experience who also serves as the Chief Compliance Officer for Bridges Healthcare in Connecticut; and Mini Santosh, an Early Childhood Director with the Community Action Agency of Western Connecticut.

Dr. Mohini Ranganathan emphasized that no community is exempt from mental health issues and underscored the importance of having open conversations about mental health. She pointed out the lack of sufficient awareness and dialogue about mental health within the South Asian American community but noted an increasing willingness to learn about it. “It is important not to be shy about discussing behavioral health issues,” she said.

Dr. Jaya Daptardar highlighted that behavioral health challenges are universal and not confined to any particular race, ethnicity, or gender. She stressed the significance of recognizing early signs of behavioral changes and challenges and initiating conversations to seek help. Dr. Daptardar also discussed various therapies and treatments available, as well as simple prevention and wellness methods such as breathing techniques, meditation, and yoga.

Mini Santosh, an educator specializing in early childhood education, spoke about the heightened need for mental health attention, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. She highlighted the stigma surrounding mental health in Indian communities and emphasized the importance of providing support and access to mental health services.

The panel discussion elicited insightful questions from the participants, and the Q&A session provided valuable insights for parents and attendees. It was clear that more panels and community discussions are necessary to raise awareness of mental health in South Asian and Indian communities. GOPIO-CT has a robust platform to offer health and wellness-related seminars for the community.

Over the past 18 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International, has evolved into an active and dynamic organization. It hosts interactive sessions with policymakers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and collaborates with other local organizations to foster a better future. GOPIO-CT serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic, and community service organization, promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs, and contributions of people of Indian origin through various community programs, forums, events, and youth activities. The organization seeks to strengthen partnerships and create ongoing dialogues with local communities.

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