WE ARE SAATH introduces Mansik Sehat Mondays

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Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

Marquette’s SAATH chapter holds their first Mansik Sehat Monday’s for their series.

“At the end of the day, we’re all humans and it’s important that everyone regardless of their race or background is always taking care of their mental health,” Nina Abraham, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences and secretary of WE ARE SAATH Marquette, said. 

WE ARE SAATH stands for the phrase “We are Together” and is a nationwide organization that serves to provide access to mental health resources for the South Asian community. WE ARE SAATH has local networks with both Milwaukee and Marquette University. 

SAATH’s Marquette University network held a Mansik Sehat (“mental health”) Monday meeting Oct. 10. This was the first of a series of weekly meetings that the organization will hold for all Marquette students every Monday evening in the Alumni Memorial Union Henke Lounge.

Irene Varghese, a senior in the College of Education and president of WE ARE SAATH Marquette, said that these weekly meetings were started to allow students the space and opportunity to be open and honest about their mental health struggles. 

“It’s very stigmatized in South Asian communities to even talk about mental health, ” Varghese said. “We want Mansik Sehat Mondays to be a time where we can have those conversations about mental health and just catch up on anything else that is going on in our lives.” 

Aside from the discussions, Abraham said that students can expect a mix of new activities each week to combat students’ stress. 

“We usually do something different every week. Sometimes we’ll have coloring sheets and other times we’ll have little games,” Abraham said. “This is just an opportunity for groups of people to meet and de-stress from school.”

For Jenny Yohannan, a senior in the College of Business Administration, the self-care bingo activity helped her discover other methods she can use to reduce stress.

“My favorite activity was the self-care bingo,” Yohannan said. “We talked about what we do every day to treat ourselves, and I was able to get tips from the other club members on how they choose to unwind.”

Varghese said that she wants those who attend these meetings to walk out the doors feeling less anxious or overwhelmed than they did when they came in. 

“I would like everyone to leave feeling much more refreshed and relieved,” Varghese said. “We are so busy and stressed with our academic lives and social lives, so this is just typically one hour where you can take time to express yourself and meet new people.” 

Looking forward to future Mansik Sehat Mondays, Varghese said that she hopes the organization will be able to bring in some guest speakers as they have done in the past. 

“We really want to have a panel again sometime this year-,” Varghese said. “Last year, we had a few really great guest speakers and several counselors who came in to talk about their own experiences, and they let students ask them any questions,” Varghese said.

Varghese said that all students are invited, regardless of their ethnic identity. 

“Absolutely anyone is welcome no matter their background. We have people not of South Asian background who come and we always enjoy hearing their input,” Varghese said. 

Yohannan emphasized this idea and added that SAATH serves as a valuable support group.

“Everyone in SAATH is very open-minded and willing to help support each other through whatever it is they are going through,” Yohannan said.

This story was written by Erin Howard. She can be reached at e[email protected]