The unspoken alcohol problem among UK Punjabis

For many British Punjabis, alcohol abuse is an open secret....

...There are around 430,000 Sikhs in the UK, making up a significant proportion of the British Punjabi population. Harjinder herself is Sikh and amongst her community her experience isn't unique.

A new survey, commissioned by the BBC to investigate attitudes to alcohol among British Sikhs, found that - although drinking alcohol is forbidden in Sikhism - 27% of British Sikhs report having someone in their family with an alcohol problem. It's a problem which is rarely talked about openly in the community.

Harjinder moved in with her husband's family after their arranged marriage - both common practices within Punjabi and wider South Asian communities. She was shocked to find out how much her newly acquired family's social life centred around the men's excessive drinking.

The family, along with young children, would go to a friend's house and would stay there until two or three o'clock in the morning waiting for the men, and she started to feel increasingly isolated.

Rav Sekhon, a British Punjabi psychotherapist who works with ethnic minority communities, says: "There is really strong pride and honour for the family name. They don't want anyone to perceive them as having something wrong with them or...

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