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Following many years of hearing young South Asians in the Greater Toronto Area share challenges with accessing culturally-informed mental health supports and services, we came together to find a way to help. Young South Asian women in particular expressed a need to see a young South Asian mental health professional that ‘looked like’ them. Someone who understood what it was like to be a woman and straddle two completely different cultures --- being Canadian and being South Asian. Through these dialogues emerged a number of gaps in the systems surrounding these young people, with the central and repeated theme being understood as a young South Asian and the role of gender in their experiences.

As we unpacked the research in this area, we found very little information to inform mental health supports for young South Asian women, as well as a lack of culturally tailored information for key people within their networks. To address these gaps, we will embark on a three step process of co-creating culturally driven mental health supports and resources to enhance the mental health of young South Asian women.


Phase I (Completed)

We completed an arts-based qualitative study to look at the unique psychological and emotional needs of young South Asian women. The exploration of the needs of young South Asian women from different avenues resulted in a detailed understanding of the challenges and informed the basis for future preventative work in the field. Phase I is funded by the CAMH Foundation.

October 2017 - January 2018

Phase II (Completed)

In the second phase, we continued to engage young South Asian women in a series of workshops to co-create four short digital narratives highlighting personal experiences with mental health and addiction. The films are tailored to four key groups i) family, ii) school/educational system, iii) faith communities and iv) mainstream mental health/social service professionals. The films, along with a series of supporting tools, will be used to educate these four groups about the mental health needs of young South Asian women, and how to best support them. Serving as health promotion tools, we hope the resources developed in phase two will support our local communities with early identification, prevention and intervention of mental health issues amongst South Asian women. Phase II is funded by the CAMH Foundation bci consulting inc. Fund for Inclusion in Mental Health.


The films were premiered at the International Film Festival of South Asia in May 2018. The films and accompanying resources have been shared with communities across the Greater Toronto Area throughout the summer and early fall of 2018. We continue to deliver workshops across the city. For more information head over to the Roshni Roadshow page.


All films and tips sheets are now available open access.


In response to requests, the team are currently working on developing a workshop toolkit to support community members with facilitating workshops in their local area and setting.

February 2018 - December 2018

Phase III (Ongoing)

Finally, phase three will build on all the information collected and resources developed in phase one and two to co-create a culturally driven psychosocial intervention for young South Asian women aged 16-25, that can be implemented within educational and mental health settings. Phase III is funded by B&C Health.

January 2018 - ongoing

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July 10, 2019

The Roshni Project: Highlighting the Lived Experience of South Asian Women - Webinar

Last week, Shreya Kumar (Roshni Member) and Dr. Gursharan Virdee (Principal Investigator) had the honour of speaking with Nitali and Nikita from CAMH PSSP as part of their New Narratives Webinar Series. The webinar is now available online.

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The Roshni Team is hosting a series of workshops in collaboration with community partners across the Greater Toronto Area. In each workshop, we will share findings from our research, screen the four short films and facilitate a discussion about mental health in the South Asian community.

The workshops aim to continue the important conversation about mental health and access to services. We hope you can join us!

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THE Team

Expressions of Gratitude

The Roshni Project is by no means the effort of just a few people. Many have contributed along the journey. The expression of gratitude is central to our philosophy, which is why we are dedicating this page to highlight the unique and important contributions made by all championing The Roshni Project.


  • Dr. Sean Kidd (CAMH, Co-Principal Investigator) for his continued guidance and support on all fronts, and being an important ally.

  • Herleen Sayal at Women of Wisdom (WOW) for helping us think critically about our work in this space. Herleen’s shared enthusiasm for empowering young South Asian women is a continued source of inspiration.

  • International Film Festival of South Asia (IFFSA) for supporting the cause by creating a platform for marginalized voices to be heard, and collaborating to promote and release the short films.

  • CAMH Foundation for funding the work, and continued support with engaging South Asian communities.


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