Stories of Stigma: South Asian Mental Health-logo

Stories of Stigma: South Asian Mental Health

Education Podcasts >

More Information


United States






The Science of Mental Illness | featuring Dr. Maitreyee Lund

What are the biological components of mental illness? How do parents and children begin to understand each other? What forces conspire to cultivate a mind for mental health work? Dr. Maitreyee Lund, a psychiatrist and educator with Synergy Psychiatry in Austin and Texas A&M Health Science Center, joins us to tackle these questions and more. We hope you listen, share and speak up.


Assault and the Aftermath: w/ Vaidehi Gajjar

This week's ep, which falls during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, features our very own Vaidehi Gajjar, who not only has experienced assault, but also found herself afterwards. We hope you listen, share, and speak up.


What Is It Like to Start Therapy? w/ Chandni Shah

What does it feel like to approach a counselor? How do South Asian students uniquely talk about mental health? We talk about these practical questions and more with Chandni Shah, a licensed Counseling Psychologist at the University of Maryland, College Park, and an officer of the Division on South Asians of the Asian American Psychological Association. She talks to us about her intersecting passions for social justice and mental health, and what she's learned from speaking with students....


Saajan Bhakta: A Story of a Phoenix and Ashes

In this episode, Saajan Bhakta shares his story of recovery from a place of doubt and isolation to one of philanthropy, empathy, and optimism. We hope you listen, share, and speak up.


Caring For Loved Ones With Mental Illness w/ Anita Wadhwani

In this episode, we focus on a different topic than usual. Instead of talking to us about her own experience with mental health, Anita Wadhwani talks to us about watching her loved ones suffer through mental illness. She bares the tough parts of her family's story: taking care of her schizophrenic mother and dealing with her brother's suicide. Listen to her incredibly honest story to learn about how to care for others, how to care for yourself, and where to find joy in the tough moments....


When the Weather Inside Is Frightful

In this episode, Faria Akram, VP of Marketing at Mannmukti, and Anand Jayanti, your faithful podcaster, talk about experiencing the holidays from a South Asian perspective, with all of the associated baggage, expectations, and joy. We hope you enjoy, share, and speak up!


Mental Health On Air: Jai's Radio Show

In this episode, we highlight someone who’s doing their part to break the stigma! Jai Gandhi, a psychiatry resident in Seattle, started his own radio show to discuss South Asian mental health. Jai talks to us about the good and bad of the show, and what he learned about sharing stories with South Asians. We’ll also hear some of his thoughts on stigma and mental health care. Be sure to listen, share, and #SpeakUp! Music on today's episode is brought to you by Vik Sevak aka Junglee. Listen...


I Want My Mommy (And Other Mental Health Concerns)

We know how a negative relationship with your parents can affect your mental state. But, what about if you have a good relationship with your parents? Can you still expect mental strain? Listen in as two of MannMukti's very own talk about how their relationships with their parents has changed over the years and it has effected their mental health. Music on today's episode was provided by Mandippal. Find him @mandippal on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and at


Violence is Not Love w/Yumnah Syed

In this episode, we talk to Yumnah Syed, Licensed Master of Social Work as well as Coordinator of Evaluation and Training at the Adelphi University School of Social Work’s Institute for Adolescent Trauma Treatment and Training. Yumnah is the former Youth Empowerment Advocate at Sakhi for South Asian Women, an advocacy organization working to raise awareness about as well as put an end to domestic violence in South Asian diaspora communities. She will discuss the politics surrounding mental...


Get Cultured! w/Saranya Sundaram

In this episode, we talk to Saranya Sundaram, M.R.C. who is pursuing her Ph.D in Clinical Psychology at Palo Alto University in California. We’ll learn from Saranya about the role of culture in psychology, the current state of culture and assessment in psychological evaluations, and how various cultures define the concept of mental health. As always with our guests, we’ll hear about Saranya’s personal experience with mental health as well as her thoughts on stigma in the South Asian...


Depression, Alcoholism, and the Double Life: An Anonymous Guest Speaks Up

In this episode, an anonymous guest shares his story of depression, alcoholism, and the path of recovery from a disease that taught him the power of identity and where to find it. We hope you listen, share, and #speakup! Thanks to Podington Bear, Monplaisir, and the PK Jazz Collective from the Free Music Archive.


Sexual Violence in Multicultural Communities ft, Kimberlee Parmer

Sexual assault and abuse is a silent epidemic that affects every race, religion, or socioeconomic status. While it is a subject enveloped in silence and shame in any community, multicultural communities often have unique forms of stigma that make it very difficult for survivors to heal. Survivors often suffer from Depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, eating disorders, and other mental illnesses. In this episode, we discuss this issue with Kimberlee Parmer, who is a Licensed...


The Importance of Discussing Your Mental Health in Social Circles ft. Akhilesh Menawat

On today’s episode we have Akhilesh Menawat. He is the Director of Communication at Kitchen Cabinet Strategies LLC in Minneapolis. Akhilesh & Shama went to college together for four years. But, it took them 6 years to know they both were struggling with mental illness during that time. Why is it that we choose to mask our truths & not confide with our peers, or those we consider our friends? Listen as they discuss the importance of talking about mental health within our circles. This...


Interview w/Shanta Kanukollu

One of the strains on mental health in the South Asian community is the pressure of being a “model minority”. How does that perception affect our understanding and desire to share experience of trauma? In this episode, we talk to Shanta Kanukollu, a licensed clinical psychologist, about her thoughts on gender-based violence and the associated trauma in the South Asian community. Shanta has also just started her own private practice in Chicago, so we’ll hear about how she became interested...


Divorce in a South Asian Context: An Interview w/ Samaiya Mushtaq

Divorce is one of the most difficult choices a person can make, but to navigate that space as a woman in a Muslim family bears its own set of challenges and gifts. Samaiya Mushtaq is a resident psychiatrist in Dallas and joins us today to talk about how she overcame the stigma of speaking out, and what perspectives she's developed to move on. Samaiya's article on the same topic can be found at: Artist Dave Shah, whose music...


Interview w/ Rana Khan

In this episode, we talk to Rana Khan, a former teacher and leader of Friends of the Collaborative, a group of individuals with lived experiences of mental illness who have come together to support a research collective known as the Collaborative for South Asian Mental Health, which, coincidentally, is led by the guest from our last two episodes, Dr. Gursharan Virdee. We’ll learn from Rana the exact reasons she wanted to start the FotC, the process she went through in forming the...


Interview w/ Gursharan Virdee (Pt.2)

In this 2nd installment of a 2-part episode, we’ll learn about the most crucial pieces of research Gursharan has found that illuminate the major mental health issues plaguing South Asians, as well as her thoughts on stigma in the South Asian community. We hope you listen, enjoy, share, and #SpeakUp! References- Centre for Addiction & Mental Health Website: To subscribe to the Collaborative for South Asian Mental Health's newsletter, scroll down this...


Interview w/ Salma Vir-Banks

WARNING: This episode contains sensitive material. If you have dealt with or are currently dealing with an eating disorder, mood disorder, or addiction, please be aware that these issues are discussed here. In this episode, we talk to Salma Vir-Banks who, after completing her degree at the University of California, Berkeley, is currently traveling and pursuing a career as a tattoo artist and healer while exploring various issues, including mental disorders/conditions. We’ll learn from...


Introduction to MannMukti + Interview w/ Megha P.

In the premiere episode, we start with Buddy and Abhi talking about the founding of MannMukti and our journey to site launch. Then, we interview our first special guest, Megha Pulianda, who’s currently pursuing her PhD in Counseling Psychology at Texas Women’s University and working as a licensed professional counselor intern at The Montfort Group in Plano, Texas. We’ll learn from Megha about what she wishes millennials knew about therapy, and some of the common myths about therapy that...