Struggling in Silence: a discussion at Yale on APIA mental health

November 12, 2013


It has been exactly a decade since I’ve been an undergraduate student at Cornell, and involved in that exciting thing that is student activism. It’s been a year since I’ve brainstormed workshop ideas; designed posters; chalked the sidewalks; and engaged my fellow student with ideas and dialogue.

In that intervening decade, I’ve done a lot of growing up and had a lot of fabulous experiences. But nothing — nothing — replaces the energy and excitement of being on-campus and listening to students engage on another with ideas about themselves and the world around them. In some ways, I blog in part to stay connected to the kind of enthusiasm that comes naturally to undergraduate students: that zeal that wants to learn more about the world around us, and the optimism that this world can be made even just a little bit better.

Tonight, I was invited by Yale’s Asian American Cultural Center to lead a discussion on issues of mental health, depression and suicide in the Asian American community. A difficult subject, no doubt, but one that has been close to my heart for about as long as I’ve been involved in Asian American activism.

And, it was incredible. The room was filled to capacity with students, each breaking the stigma that would have us stay silent about depression within our community, and each instead opening up to share their own stories, thoughts, and ideas about this critical issue within our community.

I might have been there to lead the discussion, but it was amazing to listen to and learn from everyone who came and engaged in the dialogue, each with their unique perspectives on this important topic. Being able to participate in this kind of a forum has been re-energizing for me, and gives me hope that we are one step closer to destigmatizing this community-wide struggle.

So, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who organized this event, and who came out and participated. It has been truly a privilege to be a part of this event.

Related: Mental Health Awareness Week: Top 10 Myths about Asian Americans and Mental Health

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