As an Asian person who has experienced mental illness, I know how the stigma in the Asian communities often discourages people from seeking effective help.

The video Mann ki Baat aims to open up a debate about mental illness within the Asian communities, encouraging Asian people with mental health difficulties to take positive steps to tackle their problems.

Funded by the Department of Health and the National Lottery, and produced by the independent production company Mental Health Media, it was launched in July. The commissioner of Northern Birmingham Mental Health trust acknowledged that service providers had to provide more culturally appropriate services, which avoided stereotypes, such as Asian extended families all being able to provide support to those in mental distress.

Mann ki Baat focuses directly on Asian people who have experienced mental distress and what they did to overcome it. Breaking taboos surrounding mental ill-health, they talk candidly about the circumstances surrounding their distress and the accompanying symptoms. In doing so, they illustrate that a range of appropriate help is available, including counselling and medication, as well as alternative ways of healing, such as yoga and exercise, prayer and joining social groups.

The video can be used by Asian people who are concerned about their own mental health or family or friends; by Asian community groups - for gaining a better insight into mental health issues faced by people in their communities; and by service providers and training courses, to help provide a more culturally aware service.

Presented by Bollywood legend Dhamendra Deol, it is available in English, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujerati and Bengali.

Raza Griffiths Mental Health Media The Resource Centre 356 Holloway Road London N7 6PA Tel: 020-7700 8171 Email: razag@mhmedia