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Mental Health Initiative

Being born in a South Asian home welcomes one of the biggest stigmas towards mental health. We are one of the many races the frowns upon the mention of its existence. So how do we bring it up in a welcoming environment among our peers? As an advocate for people living with mental illness I have been in the background to many charitable events by either participation, volunteering and/or donations. In 2009 I co-organized a Photography exhibit combined with a silent auction which aimed to take a positive approach to mental health by sharing personal stories combined with a performance dance piece, vocal artists and key note speaker - Lorne Zon (former CEO of CMHA). The event was a great success, having raised $1600 towards CMHA. This year we decided to take part in Bell Let's talk day by connecting with mental Illness on a personal level. The attached video illustrates the bond of two South Asian friends sharing their personal stories and discussing the stigma surrounding mental health. Myself, Malinda Chohan - owner of Banglez Jewelry and Iman Grewal - Self Employed Clothing Stylist and Events Director. Our childhood bond grew from this struggle and together we realized that it has become an important story that we were ready to share. In hopes, it would encourage others to start talking and sharing their experiences. 'If we deny our stories they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending .' (Brent Brown) Below is also a flyer that we posted and shared on Jan 25th (Bell Lets Talk Day). We asked that others also share their story with us by sending us a email. We offered in turn that we would love to treat them to a day of pampering along with a mini photo session, and above all a day to feel belonging. We received a great response and on March 6th (International Women's week), 5 ladies will be joining our talented team! Hair and Makeup Application taking place at Blend Hair & Makeup Studio by lead makeup artist Sarah Stewart and lead hairstylist Sonia Singh. They will then head to Banglez where they will be styled by Iman Grewal. As well as, of course full access to jewelry from Banglez - South Asian Inspired Jewelry. Once they're looking and feeling their best, Narbir Gosal of Brownrice Photography will take their photos for their mini photography session onsite. Vinay of Midnight Media who created the video to help us tell our story will also be capturing the ladies throughout their day of being pampered. Our team has a large reach within the South Asian community both on social media and with our mailing lists. Banglez has over 13,000 followers on Instagram and almost 6000 on Facebook alone. Our hope is to have a positive and uplifting day in an open, non-judgmental environment and we would love for CMHA to be involved. We hope to continue this initiative and with your help and support we feel we can. Sincerely, Malinda Chohan | 416.834.6717 | WATCH VIDEO:

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