Birmingham lad works to remove mental health stigma in Punjabi community

Shuranjeet Singh Takhar founded TarakĪ to address mental health issues in the Punjabi community. This caught the attention of Birmingham Mail

Shuranjeet Singh Takhar – Photo: Birmingham Mail

Shuranjeet Singh Takhar is no ordinary Sikh youth. The 23-year old Sikh student is the founder of a campaign aimed at removing the stigma surrounding mental health in the Punjabi community.

His efforts in forming Taraki caugh the attention of British regional newspaper Birmingham Mail which featured him as a contender for its 30 Under 30 list.

Shuranjeet is the founder of TarakĪ, a campaign to address mental health issues in the Punjabi community.

“Being able to see communities take hold of their collective mental well-being, take ownership of supporting one another and composing novel ways of approaching well-being has been absolutely incredible and I am so humbled to have played some part in this community-orientated development,” he told the newspaper.

He experienced mental ill health while doing his undergraduate degree in Bristol which was partly shaped by his transition from Handsworth to the university setting, the newspaper reported.

At that time, he did not approach his community about his issues because of a fear of being stigmatised and unfairly labelled but, with support from his housemates, Shuranjeet overcame his difficulties.

He realised those in Punjabi communities didn’t have access to such support structures so decided to start TarakĪ, a movement which looks to re-shape how these communities approach mental health.

Since returning to Birmingham from university, he has delivered workshops at universities, co-developed mental health infrastructure with Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) and advocated for Punjabi communities at a national level with charity Time to Change and training organisation Mental Health First Aid England.

Taraki has been recognised by the West Midlands Combined Authority and other media outlets, including winning a Young Person’s Star Award.

BirminghamLive’s 30 Under 30 campaign showcases some of the most inspiring under 30s living, working and making a difference in the city.

Read the article, ’30 Under 30 finalist is tackling mental health head on in the Punjabi community’ (Birmingham Mail, 2 May 2019), here.



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