World Mental Health Day is marked every year on October 10 to raise awareness about mental health around the world and to mobilize efforts to support those experiencing mental health issues. This year, Crisis Text Line had the opportunity to chat with Carrie Zhang, Founder of the Asian Mental Health Project, to discuss how to build a society that feels empowered and comfortable seeking help and how to find support when they need it most.
An Exclusive Conversation with Carrie Zhang
Q: What do you see as a challenge right now in your community surrounding mental health?
A: At this point, it is so clear that there is a mental health crisis amongst the AANHPI community, particularly with increased acts of violence and continued racial injustice. Our sense of safety and belonging has been shattered over the last few years. A challenge that we are hoping to address is to bring culturally responsive and proactive mental health care to the AANHPI community at scale to address this crisis.
Q: How or why did you start your mental health retrospection journey?
A: After experiencing racial and gender-based harm, and receiving mental health treatment to address this trauma – I found that many of my own mental health issues had to do with unprocessed and repressed feelings that pertained to my own identity as an Asian American woman. I started to reflect on the intersections of my identity and how mental health weaves into these parts of me.
Q: What can people make a positive change in the community and help others conquer their mental health struggles?
A: As individuals, we have so much power to break cycles of harm in our communities. It can start by sharing your own story, which is the foundation to creating trusted spaces in your own circles to unpack mental health issues.
Q: What is your “go-to” advice for people struggling with mental health?
A: If you are struggling with your mental health, the first piece of advice I’d like to share is to validate your struggles. It is absolutely okay to not feel okay, and it is okay to want healing and to want recovery for yourself – and that includes reaching out for help. If you need immediate support, there’s help available particularly through Crisis Text Line. Text EMPOWER to 741741 for AANHPI-specific crisis counseling. Local and community-specific resources can also help start your mental health journey at low to no cost.
Q: What do you recommend people do or say if they’re worried about someone else’s mental health and don’t know how to approach it?
A: If you are concerned about someone’s mental health, first and foremost it is important to reach out and meet them where they are. You can start the conversation by saying “Hello! I noticed that you may be struggling with your mental health. I care about you and your wellbeing, how can I best support you?”
We ALL have the power to make a difference.
Interested in supporting people in need? Join Crisis Text Line’s community of volunteer Crisis Counselors today!