Check out upcoming workshops and events!

Break the Silence: Challenges with South Asian Mental Health Representation in America

Event Date:

November 20, 2020

Event Time:

4:00 pm

Mental health among Asian Americans is seldom discussed within the community. Despite having a 17.3% lifetime rate of any psychiatric disorder, Asian Americans are three times less likely to seek mental health services than their White counterparts (National Latino and Asian American Study, 2012). The resistance to seek care can result from a multitude of factors, including but not limited to religious beliefs, social stigma, and family expectations.

The South Asian population is an inherently diverse, vibrant, and multifaceted community. Due largely to the influence of a British colonial past, the South Asian diaspora is incredibly vast. Many South Asians in the United States have established histories all across the world. Despite the heterogeneity of this population, many South Asians still share a common reluctance to seek professional help for mental health related issues. To exacerbate the issue, the lack of diversity among mental health professionals contributes to cultural incompetency in the field.

As our commitment to continue the conversation on inclusivity, intersectionality and anti-racism in mental health, Chicago Minds created this series of panel discussions to focus on the experiences of various cultural/ ethnic groups in seeking and providing mental health care.

In this session, we invite 5 panelists of South Asian heritage with diverse backgrounds in their professional and personal journeys to share their insights and understanding about the unique challenges faced by the South Asian community.

*We believe that understanding the heterogeneity of Asian American cultures is crucial to breaking barriers in mental health care for this community. Please reach out to us at if you would like access to our previous panel discussion focusing on East Asians.



Monika Sharma, Psy.D.
Monika graduated from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in 2000.  Since that time, she became certified as a holistic health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition at Columbia University’s Teachers College, trained in hypnosis through the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and supervised clinical psychology doctoral students at the college counseling center of the International Academy of Design and Technology since its inception in 2004.  She has also taught graduate-level courses at Argosy University in Chicago and served on the Board of Directors for Apna Ghar (Our Home), a domestic violence agency in Chicago, and Indus Women Leaders, a national mentorship program for South Asian Women.

Monika founded NVision You, LLC as a culmination of her holistic health training and and passion for personal power and vitality in life. She believes we each have the power to heal ourselves rather than fall prey to too-good-to-be-true promises, become dependent on meds, or surrender our power to another person rather than learning to trust ourselves.

Nosheen Hydari, LMFT
Nosheen Hydari is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, AAMFT-Approved Supervisor, Owner and Psychotherapist of Nosheen Hydari Therapy, with offices in the Loop and Wicker Park. For the past 8 years, she has worked primarily with individuals and couples around issues of identity, differentiation, attachment, infidelity, and depression/anxiety. She has a particular focus on the experience of multiculturalism. Nosheen knows firsthand that psychosocial development is not the same for people who identify from non-majority cultures and backgrounds. She works with interfaith and biracial couples and families, and has a niche working with clients from varying cultural backgrounds, including those who identify as South Asian and/or Muslim.

Nosheen has past experience in Public Mental Health, with a background in treating trauma and managing crisis due to violence and poverty caused by systemic racism. She has worked in a multitude of mental health settings, including public health clinics, hospital systems, correctional facilities and community mental health agencies all over Chicago. She was selected as a “Champion of Change”, a prestigious award given by President Obama and the Obama White House, and subsequently worked in collaboration with the Obama White House and Obama Foundation, as well as other local community organizations, on efforts to prevent gun violence. Nosheen has a M.S. in Marriage & Family Therapy from Northwestern University, and a B.A. in Communication from DePaul University.

Rahul Sharma, Psy.D.
Dr. Sharma is an accomplished and passionate Consultant, Strategist, Psychologist, & Artist, and an expert in the areas of diversity, inclusion, leadership & growth. Dr. Sharma was Associate Professor at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology (ISPP) and Chair of its Diversity Concentration for 13 years, teaching courses including Diversity Psychology: Past, Present, Future and Personal and Professional Development, along with supervising clinical work.

Rahul is also founder and bassist/sitarist for the intercultural award-winning music group Funkadesi, which includes diverse members (Indian-American, African-American, Jamaican, Latino, and European-American) who are musicians, activists, educators, and healers. In 2017, Dr. Sharma was the recipient of the Joyce Foundation Award, a commission to co-write a musical piece, “Quantum Englewood,” to provide arts opportunities for youth in high-risk environments. The piece was performed by hundreds of musicians in late 2018. He recently served as an NEA grant review panelist for proposals that apply art to community wellness and equity endeavors.

Patricia (Patty) Johnson, Psy.D.
Patty Johnson is a clinical health psychologist in private practice with a focus on integrative behavioral medicine, exploring how the interaction between body and mind inform healing. Patty also speaks on issues around mental health and race, the impact of generational differences in parenting, mental health in communities of color and has given a TEDx talk on changing the narrative of inequity.

Patty also enjoys connecting psychology and art, being that art is a powerful platform for healing. She has executive produced an electronica album focused on addiction, on which she performed a spoken word piece, and has done screenwriting work for various projects. She is also the author of Essays of Night and Daylight, a book of contemplative stories on race, womanhood and the immigrant experience.

Harini Sridhar
Harini Sridhar (she/her/hers) is an artist, classical Indian dancer, writer, and graduate student of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. In leading narrative medicine workshops for those from disability, LGBTQ, and immigrant communities, Harini has created spaces to help individuals explore identity, illness, and resilience. She also worked as an ABA therapist for young children with autism and served as an advocate for families of color in the healthcare system.

Harini is a core organizer of We Are Saath, a social justice movement and nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to mental health resources for the South Asian community through activism, education, and storytelling. She has worked on research at the intersection of mental health and acculturation, organized a provider speaker series, and contributed to building a database of South Asian providers for patients to find culturally-sensitive care.

Suggested Donation: $15

Sorry, this event is expired and no longer available.

Event Schedule Details

  • November 20, 2020 4:00 pm   -   5:15 pm
Share This Event

Enter your name and email and get on our newsletter to stay up on the Chicago Minds community.

* indicates required

Your information will *never* be shared or sold to a 3rd party.