To celebrate World Mental Health Day, multi award-winning British pianist and composer Rekesh Chauhan is releasing a new music video production. Inspired by a British Asian Trust mental health case study, the music video highlights the importance of mental health awareness not just within South Asia but amongst the South Asian diaspora in the UK as well.
Keeping in mind the current pandemic and the disproportionately high rate of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities being affected, conversations about mental health have become even more important.
According to a recent report by the Public Health England:
• An analysis of survival among confirmed COVID-19 cases shows that people of South Asian origin have up to 50% higher risk of death when compared to White British individuals.
• A survey of over 14,000 adults by the mental health charity Mind has revealed that existing inequalities in housing, employment, finances have had a greater impact on the mental health of people from BAME groups during the coronavirus pandemic.
The music video production, kept in regional language of Hindi, widely spoken by the South Asian diaspora, portrays the true story of a young girl, Neelam (name changed to protect her identity). Neelam was able to receive the crucial mental health services that she required thanks to the British Asian Trust. The British Asian Trust runs projects in South Asia to raise awareness, end stigma and transform support for people with mental health needs.
With a full BAME production team, the music video stars BBC Young Dancer of the Year Winner and NHS frontline worker Shree Savani, directed by award-winning director Sima Gonsai and BAFTA Crew cinematographer Daniel Alexandra featuring classical vocalist Saylee Talwakar and produced by Rekesh Chauhan.
Chauhan said, “As we know, Covid-19 has affected our community disproportionately and mental health is already a topic we don’t speak about enough. I realise the power of music as a means of release. I wanted to focus my efforts on spreading positivity to make a difference through arts.”
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the British Asian Trust said, “It is crucial that we act now to tackle the desperately under-reported and under-resourced mental health crisis in South Asia. The British Asian Trust is working to raise awareness and challenge stigma around mental health, both in Pakistan and internationally. As well as providing much needed services, lifting the silence on mental health and educating communities is paramount to achieving real long-term change.”
Neelam’s Story, premiers on YouTube on 10th Oct 2020, World Mental Health Day.