Follower Friday: jaeserrado

Follower Fridays is a series of profiles highlighting members of Gaysian
Third Space to showcase the diversity of gaysians in the Community.
This week’s featured member is @jaeserrado.

Who are you?

My name is Jerome (Jae, for short), and I’m a 23 year-old graduate student at NYU!

Where are you from?

Orange County, NY (home to West Point Military Academy and the Woodbury Common Premium Outlet mall).

What do you do?

I’m a part-time sales associate for Clark’s in the Woodbury Commons, and a full-time public health student at NYU. My concentration is in Community Health Science Practice.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about health promotion and self-expression. I firmly believe that everyone deserves access to basic healthcare services AND education, because the latter is your strongest weapon in today’s world. As an aspiring doctor, I want to empower my patients and my community to express themselves through healthy creative outlets, such as dance, music, visual art, or writing. For me, personally, music, dance, and writing tumblr posts have helped me immensely with venting my emotions, especially when I struggle to physically verbalize what I feel.

What is your dream job (real or fantasy)?

My dream job is to be a family practice physician with clinical interests in sexual/reproductive health. I would love to have my own community health center one day, to provide accessible preventive health screenings as well as affordable HIV/STD/pregnancy testing. At the same time, I would offer innovative workshops to my patients on various health topics, and confer with other providers on how we can keep improving our healthcare system and evidence-based practice. Finally, I’d love to be a professor of public health and Philippine languages…and be concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Essentially, I’m an overachiever at heart. I just want to do everything, hahaha.

If you could change the world with one idea, what would it be?

Take a mental health day once in a while! It’s really important to keep yourself in check with the amount of tasks you delegate to yourself every day. While it’s good to stay occupied so no time is wasted and productivity is maintained, productivity and energy can spiral downwards if you’re not in the right mindset. So take a personal day off, relax, sleep in, get some fresh air, play with your pets, hang with friends and fam, and treat yourself! It’ll do you a lot of good!

Any personal plugs?


A New Generation Of Therapists Is Fighting Asian-American Mental Health Stigma

A New Generation Of Therapists Is Fighting Asian-American Mental Health Stigma:

An excerpt:

with mental health issues often resist their family members’
suggestions that they seek help, she said, but it’s the patient who must
give consent for treatment.

is a fear among the community that if anyone finds out, they will be
ostracized,” said Dr. Vasudev N. Makhija, founder and president of the South Asian Mental Health Initiative and Network.
“They will be worried about what others think and might say. Even for
seeking emotional support, they just keep quiet and just suffer in
silence instead.”

psychiatrists who focus on Asian-American communities believe it’s most
effective to educate the entire family while treating the patient.

approach that works is informing the immediate family, said Dr. Albert
Gaw of Asian Community Mental Health Services, who has written about best practices
for working with Asian-American patients. Makhija agrees, saying that
when he sees Asian-American patients, the family often accompanies the
patient to the interview room ― with the patient’s consent.

this strategy, doctors will fully inform the family about the
medications and treatment, as well as what symptoms to watch out for.

cannot divorce the family from individual care,” Gaw said, “but in the
American culture, usually patients are being treated as an individual.”

Just Like My Mother: How We Inherit Our Parents’ Traits and Tragedies

Just Like My Mother: How We Inherit Our Parents’ Traits and Tragedies:

An excerpt:

The phenomenon is called the intergenerational transfer of trauma and
was first recognized in the 1960s in the children of Holocaust
survivors. It has since been identified in lots of groups, including
kids of Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees. But while the Jewish mode of
managing trauma is commemoration and remembering, in some Buddhist
cultures people cope by letting go of things that can’t be changed or
focusing on the future.

For My-Linh Le’s family, the kids were the future.

“When I was in high school, my parents decided for me that I was
going to be a pharmacist,” Le remembers. “I was given no say in this.”

As Le got older, her parents became more controlling. Because they
had lost so much, they were obsessed with her safety. Le says they would
listen in on all her phone conversations, and wouldn’t let her walk
anywhere. She never learned how to ride the bus, because her parents
insisted on hiring drivers to take her to school.

“Even my friends and my friends’ parents felt bad for me,” she says.
“They would actually lie to my parents for me sometimes so that I could
go to the movies or something.”

Le got really good at suppressing her own anger and frustration, so
she wouldn’t set her parents off. But now, as an adult, she’s started to
notice little ways that this family habit is catching up with her. She
was on the phone with her boyfriend recently.

“And he didn’t do something that I thought he should have done by a certain time,” she says. “And this rage just suddenly came out of nowhere, just like totally bubbled up within me.”

She wanted to throw the phone across the room.

“It was this really depressing moment of realizing that I’m just like my mother,” she says.

Why Asian-American Seniors Have High Rates Of Depression But Rarely Seek Help

Why Asian-American Seniors Have High Rates Of Depression But Rarely Seek Help:

An excerpt:

A large number of senior Asian Americans deal with mental health issues, with more than 50 percent in New York City
alone expressing symptoms of loneliness or depression, according to a
2016 report. Many of those at risk for depression and suicide are
immigrants and refugees, Ida explained. These elders are dealing with
trauma as a result of living in war-torn countries, witnessing political
upheaval or adapting to life in a foreign land.

Among them are refugees who survived Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime that left more than 1.5 million people dead, many buried in mass graves. There are also those who struggle to deal with memories of communist “re-education” and the Vietnam War.
And some senior immigrants still have trauma from adjusting to the U.S.
Even if they’ve lived in the country for a while, they can still feel
separated by language and culture, Ida said.

who are isolated are also at risk for depression and suicide. When
elderly Asian Americans lose their support systems, like a spouse, or
don’t have adult children to care for them, they often find it tough to
grapple with their situation, experts say.  

can be particularly difficult for elders who were raised with the
cultural expectation that their children would take care of them in
their old age,” Ida said.

For senior women, Ida suspects, the suicide rate is particularly high partly because they
tend to outlive men. And if they depended on their husbands for
support, but no longer have it, they become especially vulnerable.

These Incredible People Are Changing How Isolated Asian Groups Deal With Mental Illness

These Incredible People Are Changing How Isolated Asian Groups Deal With Mental Illness:

Some excerpts from Peter Aldhous’s report on the Transcultural Wellness Center in Sacramento and the local Asian American communities it serves:

Eight years later, Vang is a poster child for awareness of mental health problems in the Hmong residents of California’s state capital — literally. In February, her smiling face appeared on city billboards, with the words: “Sister. College student. Living with posttraumatic stress disorder.” It was part of a publicity campaign by the Sacramento County Department of Health to battle stigma against mental illness.

Alongside her studies at Sacramento State, Vang is now helping other Hmong use the counseling and psychiatric services of the Transcultural Wellness Center. It is vital work: Traumatic refugee experiences, lingering stigma against mental illness, and isolation from mainstream American society mean that elder Hmong, in particular, carry a heavy burden of untreated psychiatric illness.

The Transcultural Wellness Center serves about 250 people from communities speaking eight Asian languages, including the third-largest ethnic Hmong population in America.

The first wave of Hmong immigration, mostly via refugee camps in Thailand, came in the late 1970s, following a disastrous alliance with the U.S. in the Vietnam War. From the mid-1960s, Hmong soldiers disrupted the Ho Chi Minh trail, which ran through Laos and was used by North Vietnam to supply the Viet Cong guerillas. After the U.S. military pulled out in 1975, their Hmong allies were persecuted and killed in large numbers by Laotian communists.

Many Hmong elders bear the mental scars of this traumatic period. And having Hmong staff members who understand this dreadful legacy from personal experience is crucial to the center’s work. Growing up in Portland, Oregon, psychiatrist Pachida Lo noticed that her Hmong community seemed to be “stagnant” and isolated, compared to other Asian Americans — even other refugees from the conflicts in Southeast Asia.

“They had been so sad for so long,” Lo told BuzzFeed News.

This malaise still affects Lo’s own family. She recognizes signs of PTSD in one family member, who has yet to accept that he needs help. His symptoms have eased from their peak — when he would hallucinate that “ghost women” were trying to drown him. But it has been difficult for the family to discuss his problems in terms of mental illness, in part because untreated PTSD is seen as “normal” among Hmong refugees. “A lot of people had such similar symptoms,” Lo said.

In a poignant YouTube video posted in February, Vang recounted her brother’s and her own experiences with mental illness by adapting a Hmong art form called a “story cloth.” The lilting Hmong narration broke into English only for terms — like “schizophrenia” and “counselor” — for which the community’s native dialects have no word.

Traditionally, story cloths are sewn using techniques similar to American quilting — but Vang can’t sew and so painted hers instead. The video was later shown at a community event. “I heard a lot of people said that it touched them,” Vang said. “One lady came up and said she was willing to sew it.”

It took four-and-a-half years for Vang to complete her own recovery. Gaining acceptance from her family has been even harder, but appearing on the health department billboard was a watershed moment.

“It opened the conversation with my family again,” Vang said. “One of my sisters, she used to stigmatize me so much. But now that she’s seen it, she says, ‘Wow, you convey the message that you can be happy, even after PTSD.’”

Asian-American groups start mental health program for DACA recipients

Asian-American groups start mental health program for DACA recipients:

Asians made up 10 percent of the population potentially eligible for DACA, according to a September 2014 report from the nonprofit Migration Policy Institute. But in a 2016 analysis, the institute found that application rates for youth born in Asia were “generally very low.”

According to 2016 federal immigration statistics, four of the 24 top countries of origin for DACA recipients are in Asia — South Korea, the Philippines, India, and Pakistan.

Kulkarni attributes the low application rates in part due to the model minority myth.

“I do think that this is one other place we see the model minority myth hurting the community because a lot of people unfortunately buy into it … and it makes it harder for people who don’t have status to come out of the shadows and to say, ‘hey, you know what, I had to come here [because] there was political strife in my homeland,” she said.

Joe said A3PCON’s DACA Mental Health Project is also designed to provide more flexible services and help those who might not have a diagnosed medical health condition but want to speak to a professional due to stress and anxiety.

Kulkarni said that families are facing a lot of fear and uncertainty, noting that they can see that the Trump administration has been “hostile to immigrants.”

That hostility can increase levels of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, she added.

“They know they’re getting the message loud and clear that they are unwelcome here, so I think this is a very difficult time, and that’s why we launched our [mental health] project,” Kulkarni said.

From Patrick Lee’s statement about his film, “Unspoken: Asian…

From Patrick Lee’s statement about his film, “Unspoken: Asian Americans on coming out to immigrant parents”:

For the project, I asked several LGBTQ Asian Americans to write coming out letters to their parents – to share what they would if they didn’t have to worry about the language and cultural barriers that they face in talking with their family members.

The idea for the project came about from my own coming out experience this summer, when I realized I didn’t have any language – either in Korean or English – to talk about being queer with my parents in a way that we would all understand. So I ended up writing a letter in English and asking friends to help translate it into Korean, so that my parents could read it and start to understand who I was and what it meant for me to be queer.

We decided to release our short film today – on National Coming Out Day – because it’s an especially important day for us to take up space as queer and trans people of color.