The Pardesi Project

The Project:

The Pardesi Project is a mental health promotion short film initiative aimed at addressing the unique mental health challenges of South Asian international students. In Hindi, Urdu, & Punjabi “par” means other and “des” means country. Pardesi is the label for a foreigner, immigrant, and/or newcomer. This project is a collaboration between SOCH Mental Health, Sheridan College, and the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health. The short film project director and scriptwriter was Anuradha Grover-Tejpal.

Why South Asian International Students?

It is reported the largest number of international students within post-secondary institutions come from India, and experience significant mental health issues. Sheridan College identified a gap with meeting the mental health needs of their South Asian international students. Mental health challenge scan be even more difficult for international students as they face additional barriers for accessing mental health support, which include and are not limited to language barriers, cultural shock, a lack of understanding regarding health systems and education navigation and a lack of integration into the new country.

The Power of Storytelling

SOCH Mental Health has been successfully engaging the South Asian community in mental health awareness and resilience building through the art of storytelling. Storytelling is a powerful educational tool as it uses a contact-based anti-stigma strategy for community members to learn from one’s lived experience. The Pardesi Project builds on the power of storytelling through short films to uncover and address the mental health disparities for South Asian international students.

Starting with English & Punjabi

The Pardesi Project’s short films are in English and Punjabi. In our collaboration with Sheridan College and with the resources allocated for this project, our organization took an equitable approach to addressing the mental health gap among this campus community. Currently, the largest demographic of South Asian international students at Sheridan College speak Punjabi.

Short Film Topics

The Pardesi Project aims to start the mental health dialogue for South Asian international students as well as provides information on how to access support. This project explores the following mental health topics:

Film 1:
Introduction to Mental Health

Film 2:
Adjusting to Canada

Film 3:

Film 4:
Risky Behaviours- Alcohol

Film 5:
Addressing Suicide

Guide: PDF Version