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Mental Health Awareness Month: how Australia's Punjabi community is getting involved

Punjabi dance performance at the Australian Multicultural Festival on October 5 at Melbourne.

Melbourne's Punjabi community helped spread awareness about mental health in the Australian Multicultural Festival.

October is observed as National Mental Health Month in Australia. To spread awareness about and galvanise support for mental health initiatives in Australia, October 5 was celebrated as the Australian Multicultural Festival in Melbourne’s Southbank.

Sunny Duggal, a member of Melbourne’s vibrant Punjabi community participated in the festival as a multicultural ambassador appointed by the Mental Health Foundation Australia.

He told SBS Punjabi that our community lacks awareness about mental health, which is why he actively participates in initiatives aimed at shedding light on this issue and shunning the embarrassment associated with it.

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Sunny Duggal (L) with young Punjabi dancers.
Supplied

“One of my very close friends had serious mental health issues. He was so depressed that he even tried to end his life. There were murmurs about his mental condition in our circle but nobody offered help because the Indian community considers this as a kind of ‘madness’, not like any other ailment which is treatable. His suicidal nature shook me from inside which is when I decided to help those who are suffering from mental health issues and also their families,” says Mr Duggal, a Melbourne-based businessman.

At Southbank on October 5, various communities from Melbourne presented their traditional dance and musical performances along with their culinary heritage through food stalls.

A walk along the same lines will be organised on October 20 at Albert Park, Melbourne to spread more awareness about mental health.

To listen to this interview in Punjabi, click on the player at the top of the page.

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