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

Photo credit: Alexander Koromilas / Flickr

By: Jen Soriano (@lionswrite)

Editor’s Note: As of May 22, 2018 the author has modified this essay to include more Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) examples and statistics, thanks to a reader’s comments and resources on Pacific Islander erasure vs. visibility, disaggregation and inclusion.

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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Suspect in Triple Homicide Found Mentally Incompetent to Stand Trial As Family Demands Hate Crime Charges

Dan Popp appears in court. (Photo credit: Fox6)
Dan Popp appears in court. (Photo credit: Fox6)

The suspect in a triple homicide that claimed the lives of three people of colour was found mentally incompetent to stand trial today, and was transferred to a mental health facility pending treatment.

Last month, Dan Popp was arrested after he allegedly shot to death his neighbour Jesus Manso-Perez and wounding Manso-Perez’s son, before allegedly breaking into the home of Phia and Mai Vue — both Hmong American —  and killing them in front of their horrified children and babysitter. Popp reportedly remarked on Manso-Perez’s ethnicity — he was Puerto Rican — saying that “you guys got to go” before Popp embarked on the unprovoked shooting spree.

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Lawsuit Alleges School Didn’t Stop Bullying That Led To Girl’s Suicide Death | #ActToChange

Emilie Olsen in a photograph uploaded to social media.
Emilie Olsen in a photograph uploaded to social media.

Nearly a year after 13-year-old Emilie Olsen was found dead of an apparent suicide, her parents have filed a federal lawsuit against the Fairfield County school district in Ohio alleging that the school didn’t do enough to stop the bullying that led to Emilie’s death.

Emilie, who was adopted at the age of 9 months from China, grew up in Ohio where she faced bullying to severe that she suffered chronic depression and anxiety. The bullying included name-calling, physical abuse, and at least one incident where a girl reportedly followed Emilie into a bathroom with a razor and told her to kill herself. In addition, school bullies engaged in cyber-bullying; they created a social media account that subjected Emilie to slut-shaming and homophobic slurs.

Continue reading “Lawsuit Alleges School Didn’t Stop Bullying That Led To Girl’s Suicide Death | #ActToChange”