Untether Your Lifehas taken a deep dive into mental health in the South Asian diaspora, inspired by the lived experiences of host Nikhil Torsekarand his wife Shelly Sood. One facet of this that merits further exploration is how it impacts South Asian males, a topic near and dear to Ankur Varma’s heart.
Along with serving as Program Director at Northeast Family Services of Illinois, Ankur launched a valuable Instagram-based resource called Brown Man Therapywhich is “on a mission to engage more men and normalize conversations about mental health and South Asian cultures outside of work.”
Nikhil touched on many topics with Ankur, including:
- Ankur’s upbringing in the homogenous suburbs of Cincinnati, where he was brought up in the “Indian at home and American at school” ethos
- The transition of psychiatry from a consultative model to a more transactional, efficiency-based one over the years
- The manifestation of concepts in South Asian diaspora mental health, including the model minority myth (where South Asians are encouraged to “stay in their lane”) and patriarchy as reflected by tropes such as comic Russell Peters’ angry Indian father (“Somebody gonna get hurt”)
- The pros (understanding) and cons (the “echo chamber”) of seeking therapists with a similar cultural background
- How the reticence of South Asian males in discussing mental health informed Ankur’s launch of the Brown Man Therapy Instagram feed
- Ankur’s views on breathwork, Ayurveda, meditation, and other South Asian practices discussed frequently on Untether Your Life
- The implication of "untethering your life" for his journey into therapy, social media, as well as for clients seeking help for depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues
You can connect with Ankur through his brownmantherapy page on Instagram, as well as on LinkedIn.
Connect with Nikhil to learn more about Untether Your Life and other projects: