SAMHAJ is the South Asian Mental Health Association of New Jersey. Under the gracious leadership of Ms. Aruna Rao, for last 15 years it has been actively providing support, education and advocacy for South Asians affected by serious mental illness.
- “Support for families and individuals affected by mental illness through support groups, and referrals to bilingual and culturally competent mental health services. We offer a supportive environment to help you and your family to learn to navigate the often complicated mental health system. Our South Asian staff and volunteers speak Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Gujarati, Konkani, and Marathi.
- Professional guest speakers are invited to speak at educational workshops and lectures on issues that are important to your family’s journey towards recovery. Workshops cover subjects such as psychiatric medication, social security disability, rehabilitation and vocational training, coping with caregiver stress and anxiety, children’s mental health and many more topics.
- Workshops for mental health providers, other social service agencies and schools seeking to learn more about the rapidly growing South Asian community in New Jersey in order to provide culturally competent services.”
SAMHAJ celebrates many events throughout the year. During the weekend of 8/2/15, SAMHAJ members came together to participate in the annual picnic in a serene park in East Brunswick. It was a beautiful day with the Sun shining; subtle wind blowing; trees dancing to the wind; birds chirping; and all of us catching up with each other under the clear blue sky and fresh air.
During the picnic we enjoyed Indo-American food; songs; quiz; games; jokes; mental health related information; and few wonderful experiences of members so far for the year 2015. Many new talented members joined us as well!
The whole group was a healthy combination of people in various age groups; members in recovery; care takers; professionals and well-wishers. The common denominator was the feeling of one big family in which all members are motivated to work towards the common cause to the best of their abilities.
I can’t help to think about the event in context of my favorite Yoga Philosophy and Neuroscience. I bet the vibrations (Yoga Philosophy) that were being released by everyone under the blue sky were powerful, positive and full of compassion! Going by the Neuroscience, I believe everybody was releasing the “happy chemicals” like Dopamine and Serotonin during those hours!!
Overall another stimulating and satisfying experience with SAMHAJ group. I am already looking forward to the SAMHAJ Holiday Party in October/November!!