two women who wanted
to make a difference in their community
Jasmeet Chagger and Maneet Chahal are passionate mental health change-markers, trailblazing to put South Asian mental health in the spotlight. Not only are they Registered Nurses and the co-founders of Soch Mental Health, they are also best friends.
Soch’s first event
Soch’s first workshop was conducted in April of 2015 with the encouragement of Harman Grewal, Co-Founder of Lab B, a coworking space located in downtown Brampton. With a passion to stir up change, both Jasmeet and Maneet took the leap of faith conducting their first mental health workshop on “Addressing Mental Health in Brampton”. They had an amazing turnout of 20-30 family and friends.
Since then, both trailblazers have continued on the path of mental health promotion by conducting community workshops on various mental illnesses, crisis intervention, coping strategies, stigma deconstruction, mental health service navigation, and empowering community members with tips and strategies to speak to loved ones. Along with doing monthly workshops, first in partnership with Lab B and then Brampton Library, they have spoken at Gurdwaras, community events, and public schools.
Most exciting of all, their efforts led to an opportunity with the Sikh Channel, where they launched their own TV show called Apni Soch.
Jasmeet Chagger, RN, BScN, MSc
Jasmeet’s interest in mental health began at a young age when she witnessed a loved one struggling with alcohol addiction. Growing up in a South Asian Punjabi culture meant that Jasmeet’s family members did not openly discuss their feelings or personal problems due to the stigma associated with mental health concerns and the fear of judgment from the community. This resulted in a lack of communal support, isolation and confusion about how to help the family member who was struggling and strongly needed professional assistance.
The personal experience of struggling to understand familial mental health problems while haphazardly navigating the mental health system strengthened Jasmeet’s passion for this area and she pursued a career as a mental health and addictions nurse.
Jasmeet’s Masters of Science in Nursing thesis explores the perceptions of alcohol use and the impact of problem drinking among South Asian Punjabi families.
Maneet Chahal, RN, BScN, MSc
Maneet’s passion for mental health sparked at a young age when she witnessed her loved ones to be battling with anxiety and depression. Through her nursing studies, Maneet has held a special interest in culturally safe care and ensuring that professional interventions were resonating with the values and beliefs of each individual. It was her international nursing placement in Southern India, that opened her eyes to the extreme mental health disparities within South Asian communities.
With kicking off her career at Sunnybrook Hospital and then working on an ACT Team in Brampton, she realized how badly her community needed help. One night, frustrated and passionate to bring change, she called her best friend, Jasmeet, which was the start of this powerful initiative.
Since starting Soch, Maneet has completed her Masters of Science in Nursing from McMaster University in 2018 where her thesis focused on studying the South Asian Punjabi community’s experience of having accessed mental health services for depression in Brampton.