API Mental Health: Let’s Stop Talking Taboos and Start Talking Racism

By: Jen Soriano

I’m not (very) afraid to say it loud and clear: I am one of more than 2.2 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who live with a diagnosable mental illness in any given year, and I know I’m not alone.

2.2 million amounts to the entire population of Houston, Texas. It adds up to the entire U.S. population of Japanese-Americans and Korean-Americans combined.

I am one of 2.2 million and I know I’m not alone, especially in this political era where we breathe toxic stress-like fumes. In this trumped-up climate of racist fire and ICE, any one of us could face mental health challenges at any given moment, just as any one of us feeling well today could wake up tomorrow with a cold.

But this is not just another call for the destigmatization of mental illness in AAPI communities. Acceptance is important. But we need more. We also need a structural analysis of belonging, which is key to mental health, and how racism continually disrupts that basic need.

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Rae Na Lee, ’19, is Second Student Death at Yale in Past Week

Rae Na Lee, ’19 in a KBS 2TV show appearance in 2014. (Photo Credit: KBS 2TV)

In a message circulated late yesterday to members of the Yale University community, Yale University dean of students Jonathan Holloway broke the tragic news that Yale student Rae Na Lee, ’19, had died in her home in New Haven, Connecticut. Lee was the second Yale student to die in the last week. This past Monday, the Yale community learned that Hale Ross, ’18, had died of apparent suicide over the weekend.

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Zayn Malik opened up about his anxiety. Here’s why that matters.

Zayn Malik (Photo Credit: RCA)
Zayn Malik (Photo Credit: RCA)

By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)

It’s been a whirlwind fifteen months for Zayn Malik, the suave tenor who first rose to fame as a member of One Direction. In March 2015, he stunned teens everywhere when he abruptly left the boy band that first made him a household name. Since then, he’s had an extremely public breakup, released a new album, began a new relationship with a supermodel, and was subject to a bizarre and racist tirade from rapper Azealia Banks.

That’s a lot for any early 20-something to handle, let alone one who must process everything in the public eye. Last week, Malik revealed that in addition to everything else mentioned above, he was also struggling with severe bouts of anxiety.

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Asian American Adolescents Want To Talk To Us About Sex

(Photo Credit: iStock)
(Photo Credit: iStock)

A study that describes itself as the first to “specifically examine Asian American adolescents’ beliefs regarding discussions of sexual health between health care providers and Asian American adolescents” reports that Asian American youth have a lot of opinions about sex. Specifically, young Asian Americans stress that inadequate communication between themselves and their parents and healthcare providers compromises their access to adequate sexual education.

Researchers interviewed twenty young Asian Americans between 14 and 18 years old (median age was 16.7), with an even split between self-identified male and female respondents. Interviewees included Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, Thai, Korean and Laotian American teenagers mostly born in the United States.

In talking with these Asian American young people, investigators learned that many were dissatisfied with their own education on sexual health, and were motivated to learn more. Unfortunately, however, most of the adolescents expressed that their sources of knowledge on sex were limited: only 40% reported having had any conversation with a parent about sexual health. More shockingly, only 15% had ever discussed sexually transmitted diseases with a healthcare provider, and only 5% had ever talked to their doctors about sex, contraception, or pregnancy.

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43 Years after Roe v. Wade, Reproductive Rights Still Matter to AAPIs | #Roe43

I wore a lot of pink and stood on a street corner and chanted for an hour today. (Photo credit: Jenn / Reappropriate)
I #StandWithPP. (Photo credit: Jenn / Reappropriate)

43 years ago today, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that would serve as an important foundation principle for the establishment of reproductive rights for women. In a 7-2 decision, the Justices ruled that the government had no right to interfere with a woman’s decision to seek (or not seek) an abortion for non-medical reasons; this choice, they declared, was protected by our constitutional right to privacy.

Since then, Roe v. Wade has had an incredible impact on women, enabling an unprecedented social, political and economic mobility for women in general.

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