Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi, the Excecutive Director of India Home, met with New York’s First Lady Chirlane McCray, to advocate for better senior services for South Asians on January 19, 2016. The First Lady met with leaders from Asian American community organizations to talk about ThriveNYC: A Mental Health Roadmap for All, a plan of action that will help the city support the mental well-being of all New Yorkers. One in five New Yorkers face a mental health disorder each year and ThriveNYC sets forth a plan to make sure that New Yorkers can get the treatment that they need. Dr. Kalasapudi, who is a trained Geriatric Psychiatrist, was the only physician present at the meeting organized by the Asian American Federation. She shared her insights into why the mental health systems in New York sometimes fails immigrants with mental health issues. As a doctor who practices at Jamaica Hospita,l she has first hand experience when it comes to mental health issues in the South Asian community. The lack of culturally sensitive services specific to South Asians is a growing need in NYC, she said, especially given the marked increase in South Asian patients with mental health issues.
Earlier in the month, Dr. Kalasapudi was also quoted in a letter released by New York City Comptroller, Scott Stringer, advocating for increased services for immigrant seniors with Lower English Proficiency:
Immigrant seniors are in desperate need for an increase in social and health services. Immigrant seniors are some of the most isolated and overlooked members of our communities because of language and cultural barriers. We have to act urgently to help such a vulnerable section of our community – Dr. Kalasapudi