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Mental Health – Youth and Drug Addiction

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In the dynamic world of health care, Dr. Kerenjeet Sandu stands out as a passionate advocate for community well-being, especially in the context of substance addiction in the Asian community. In this insightful interview, Dr. Sandu shares her journey and sheds light on the multifaceted aspects of addiction, emphasizing the importance of communication, education, and prevention.

Dr. Sandu’s journey began with a profound realization of the health care needs in Punjab, India, during her visits to her family. Motivated by a desire to serve her community, she returned to Punjab in 2013, discovering an alarming need for support in treating opiate addiction. This realization fueled her commitment to addressing addiction issues, not only in India but also in her practice in Winnipeg, where the demand for physicians specializing in substance abuse within the Asian community soared.

In her practice, Dr. Sandu emphasizes the multifactorial nature of addiction. She delves into the challenges faced by immigrant families, where individuals, especially students, grapple with financial burdens, work stress, and a lack of coping skills. The communal nature of how individuals cope often leads to a shared reliance on substances. Dr. Sandu recognizes that addiction is a family disease, affecting not only the individual but the entire family unit.

Communication barriers within families, particularly in Asian households, contribute to the challenges of identifying and addressing addiction issues. Dr. Sandu advocates for early intervention through open communication and education. She stresses the need for better communication, boundaries, and coping skills within families, starting from the junior high and high school levels. Language barriers compound these challenges, making it essential to provide language-specific programs and parenting workshops to bridge the communication gap.

Dr. Sandu envisions a shift in societal attitudes, encouraging open discussions about addiction and mental health. She believes creating a more open and accepting space will enable families to share their struggles and seek support without fear of judgment. Additionally, Dr. Sandu highlights the importance of holistic well-being, urging individuals to consider what they put into their bodies, exercise regularly, and adopt coping mechanisms that support mental health.

Dr. Kerenjeet Sandu’s commitment to addressing addiction issues within the Asian community extends beyond medical treatment. Her holistic approach aims to foster open communication, education, and prevention. Her insights serve as a beacon for creating a more compassionate and supportive environment for those dealing with addiction-related challenges.

– Yuliia Kovalenko, U Multicultural

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