• Project Angel Island

Mental Health Stigma

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

In my generation, mental health is an issue that has just begun to be explored. Although every generation sees spouts of mental disorder, Generation Z has statistically shown the highest levels of mental disorder out of any generation. According to the CDC, the suicide rate for people ages 10-24 increased by 56% between 2007 and 2017. Though there are many new methods in which adolescents can seek therapy, one thing blocks many of the inflicted. The mental health stigmatization brought upon them by their parents. For many Asian teens, “mental health days” are an excuse used to skip school according to their parents. Even if something truly was mentally wrong with their child, Asian parents tend to shrug off their children's problems, calling them delusional or “just sad”. In many cases, teens find it hard to explain to their parents the struggles that they are facing, especially in the case of a language barrier. Even if parents understand what their child is facing, they may begin to see the issue as something the child brought upon themselves as opposed to something that is simply unexplainable to those who are not medically trained. In Chinese culture, depression or other mental disorders may be “treated” using herbal medicine/acupuncture instead of therapy. In Japanese and Korean culture, the solution to mental disorders is to completely ignore them and deny that they exist instead of speaking to a professional about the issues. In Vietnamese culture, some families may go as far as to hire an exorcist before going and seeking someone who could help. For those with mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, et cetera, a quote by Emma Stone is the best message to keep in mind. “What I would tell kids going through anxiety, which I have and can relate to, is that you're so normal. Everyone experiences a version of anxiety or worry in their lives, and maybe we go through it in a different or more intense way for longer periods of time, but there's nothing wrong with you...Don't ever feel like you're a weirdo for it because we're all weirdos.”  Jackie Kwan Writer


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