On Wednesday March 22, Bryn Mawr hosted their 3rd annual Community Day of Learning. The theme was “Minds and Bodies: Belonging in Our Communities.” Faculty, Staff, and students were encouraged to attend workshops and panel session on topics ranging from people of color in higher education, to sexuality, to immigrant experiences, and much more.
One session I attended was the Asian Americans and Mental Health session in the afternoon.
Mental Health in Asian American Pacific Islander Communities Panel | Friend Chaiprasit ’17, Amy Xu ’17 | Dalton 2 This session will educate both AAPI and non-AAPI members of the Bryn Mawr community on mental health challenges specific to the AAPI community, as well as provide a space for more open dialogue on how to cultivate and access mental health resources on campus.
The two facilitator are my close friends, and I felt like I had to attend as an Asian American. I actually conduct research on Asian Americans and mental health through my research assistant position at Temple Center for Asian Health. I could tell you facts and statistics, but nothing gets the message across more than personal stories. This requires people in the discussion to open up and trust the environment.
The difficulty with holding these types of workshops is that the level of conversation never really leaves the basic levels of complexity. New people always must be introduced to the premise of the topic such as Model Minority Myth and associated stereotypes. As a member of ASA for the past 4 years, I think I’d sound like a broken record if I had to preach about the Model Minority Myth each time I engaged with people from different backgrounds. The problem is that sometimes that is what is necessary to elevate conversations. Without a common understanding, your conversation will go nowhere.
Community Day of Learning is an innovative concept, but it is often difficult to execute because there are only so many hours of the day and only so many places you can be at one time. I heard the StoryCore workshop was really good, but I did not have a chance to attend. While I am busy sharing with others about my experience as an Asian American, I lose out on opportunities to learn from others and their unique experiences.
These conversations do not end or only occur on Community Day of Learning. I encourage you all to continue the conversation IN PERSON (yeah, not passively on Facebook y’all) and IN COMMUNITIES through direct SERVICE and ACTION.