Dr Jagbir Jhutti-Johal has written the introductory analysis article for the annual British Sikh Report, which this year focuses on mental health in the British Sikh community.
The British Sikh Report is an annual survey of the UK Sikh population, with the aim of exploring current trends and issues so as to engage in active discussion with political and community leaders and groups. This year the report focused on mental health in the Sikh community.
In her article, Jagbir highlighted that there is no word for 'mental illness' in Punjabi, which instead uses metaphors and proverbs, such as, ‘my heart is heavy’, ‘my head is heavy' and ‘sinking heart'. Jagbir also outlines the cultural context of mental health in the Sikh community, which is often attributed to possession by a spirit or demon, the casting of an evil eye, or black magic.
The report and its finding were covered in the Times of India. India has a Sikh population of 20.8 million people (1.72% of the country's total population), of which 77% are concentrated in the state of Punjab.
Jagbir presented the report in Parliament on Wednesday 25 April to a group of MPs and civil servants, along with CitySikhs, the group that organises the British Sikh Report, and a group of young Sikh mental health activists who are raising awareness in the community through open and frank discussion.