Supporting AAPI Mental Health

In October, the Personal Growth and Counseling Center (PGCC) at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) held several events to support Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) mental health. 

The PGCC holds a Let’s Talk- Supporting AAPI Students Mental Health session every Wednesday from 3 to 3:45 p.m. The AAPI community needs support, according to Tia Dasgupta, a doctoral intern at PGCC, because of the many barriers AAPI’s experience when seeking help.

Dasgutpa and co-facilitator Elysha Arreola-Vasquez, a master’s of social work student at PGCC, opened their session with an icebreaker about food. Dasgupta provided a slide with images of the vast variety of AAPI cuisine. Dasgutpa and Arreola-Vasquez noted their favorite AAPI foods were samosa and lumpia. 

The variety of foods echoes the diversity of the AAPI community. The AAPI label covers a wide range of ethnicities, with very different cultures and experiences. The AAPI community includes Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and many other ethnicities. 

Dasgupta noted that one of the reasons AAPI students are commonly excluded from the discussion about student mental health needs is the “model minority myth.” 

Model minority myth is the misperception that AAPI students are high-achieving and, thus, don’t need support. In fact, this is false, and following the pandemic and related AAPI hate, students in the AAPI community need mental health support more than ever. 

Before the pandemic, AAPI hate crimes weren’t widely tracked. Officials started tracking hate crimes against AAPIs, and the number of incidents has not been decreasing. Dasgupta attributes this to rhetoric surrounding COVID. 

To be an ally to AAPIs, students can refer their AAPI friends who may be struggling to the PGCC (831-582-3969 or [email protected]). Additionally, friends can remind them of self-care practices, which acknowledge their mental health needs.

The next Let’s Talk- Supporting AAPI Students Mental Health is on Oct. 20. Students can register on https://myraft.csumb.edu

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