Internalizasian is a project that goes against the grain of what Asian American college students have been taught growing up about mental health. They can develop their outlook on well–being and push themselves to get help that their ancestors did not have.
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First, there was silence. Eyes tinged in worry and confusion stared back at me. After a long pause, I finally heard the words, “I don’t understand. Are you sure you’re not just tired?”
These were my mother’s words when I first told her that I was struggling with depression. Growing up in a Vietnamese household, “mental health” was not in our vocabulary. In fact, it is still a taboo in Asian American communities. The idea that a person can be affected by something not seen with the naked eye is considered shameful. Due to intergenerational conflicts, it is difficult to speak up and seek help when mental health does not feel as important as day–to–day survival.
Education systems often perpetuate this idea of stigma when they are set up without attention to culture. Even though mental health has become a higher priority for colleges and universities in recent years, Asian American students continue to face barriers in receiving culturally competent services. Newer generations are more open to talking about their mental health with peers, but that does not mean they are getting help as much as they should. Internalizasian is a project that goes against the grain of what they have been taught growing up about mental health. With available resources, Asian American college students can develop their outlook on well–being and push themselves to get help that their ancestors did not have.