TarakĪ was founded by Shuranjeet Singh Takhar whilst a graduate student at the University of Oxford. After his personal experience with mental ill-health as a student, he wanted to ensure that individuals and communities would have access to the necessary support systems to help them manage their mental health in a more effective manner.
What is TarakĪ ?
TarakĪ is to be forward-facing, progressive, and looking to a better future. TarakĪ wants to reshape how Punjabi communities approach mental health and mental illness at an individual and collective level.
Taraki’s work is encapsulated in the below mission statements:
(1) To communicate awareness and education around mental health in Punjabi communities.
(2) To develop effective mental health support structures to meet the needs of Punjabi communities.
In its work, TarakĪ aims to strengthen Punjabi communities by empowering them with mental health education, and connecting them with local support services and health professionals.
Why was TarakĪ started ?
TarakĪ was started because Punjabi communities have a negative and stigmatising understanding of mental health and mental illness. Feelings of shame, fear, and guilt are widely apparent, leading to those living with mental illness suffering in silence and sometimes being rejected from their communities.
We all know someone who has gone through mental health difficulty, whether that be ourselves, a family member, or a friend.
Due to such negativity and stigma associated with mental health, one may not look to the Punjabi community for effective systems of support, sometimes leaving the individual to try and cope themselves, to suffer in silence, unbeknown to those around them.
It is this culture that TarakĪ hopes to change and shape.
TarakĪ wants to bring forward discussion about mental health to break down negative stereotypes, to better educate Punjabi communities and equip them with confidence to help and support one another.