Improving Mental Health in South Asian Communities
Agraj Seva Kendra was founded in 2006 with the goal to promote dignity, health, independence and economic security of senior citizens. As we approach our tenth anniversary, it is proposed to conduct several activities to further our goal. Members will meet at the East Brunswick Public Library on a Monthly basis and conduct seminars, workshops etc.
First such event is scheduled on Monday, April 27, 2015 as part of National Minority Health Awareness Month program. Ms. Aruna Rao, Associate Director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New Jersey will interact with members and explain how the organization can help Improving Mental Health in South
Asian Communities in New Jersey.
Ms. Rao coordinates NAMI NJ’s statewide educational and communications efforts, with a strong focus on anti-stigma programs, as well as educational programs for those affected by mental illness and their families. She has been instrumental in developing NAMI NJ’s outreach programs for immigrants affected
by mental illness in New Jersey, with innovative programs reaching out to South Asian, Chinese, and Latino immigrants. Due to her efforts NAMI NJ received the 2014 APF Advancing Minority Mental Health Award. Dr. Rao received the 2014 Agraj Seva Kendra Notable Indian Americans of New Jersey Achievement Award, the 2011 South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) Changemaker Award,
the 2003 Leadership Award from the NJ Asian American Association for Human Services, and the 2002 Multicultural Outreach Award from NAMI National. She served on the NAMI Diversity & Inclusion Workgroup on the AAPI Inter Group. She makes frequent presentations to community and provider groups, and
educators on the mental health needs of immigrant communities. Ms. Rao received her BA from Bangalore University, and her MA in Communications from Temple University.