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LA Times Filipino American mental health story #2
The second story in this series focuses on the impact of cultural values on mental health
Just wanted to share that the second story in four-part my LA Times series on Filipino American mental health, supported by The Carter Center, was published today.
You can read the story here.
For reference, the first story was published in October last year and explored the impact of colonial mentality on Filipino American mental health.
This second story is out two months later than I originally planned, but it’s here, and I hope you’ll take the time to read it and share it with people who might find it helpful.
If you’ve been following the project since the first installment of this series was published, you’ll know that this story was meant to dive into depression and suicidal ideation. But as we approached the publication date of the article, my editor Ada and I decided it would make more sense to focus more on cultural values instead.
While I was reporting on this story, I prioritized questions about those values to capture a nuanced picture of depression and suicidal ideation among Filipino Americans. A prominent theme that came up in the focus group for this piece, and in interviews with experts and community members, is that most people weren’t taught about these values growing up.
I mention in the article that there’s a lot that’s unknown about mental health among Filipino Americans. That’s because there’s such little research on it and not a lot of researchers dedicated to studying it. One of the experts I interviewed said that understanding cultural values is a good place to start since there’s so much we don’t know.
So that’s what I did with part two of this series. I wrote a story about cultural values because that’s where what emerged during the reporting process led me.
My goal for this project is to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health for Filipino Americans. Talking openly about it is one of the ways to do that. For Filipino Americans, certain values can make people reluctant to talk about mental health and seek professional help. I hope this piece will help people learn about, understand and spur conversations about how these values influence mental health. I also hope it can be a resource for providers serving Filipino American clients.
Something I’m especially excited about in sharing this story is that there are a few companion articles and videos that Ada and I (though mostly Ada and the LA Times video team) worked on:
A profile on Filipina American actress, comedian, producer and writer Tess Paras, who’s known for her role as Jayma Chan on the CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” (Tess was also recently cast in the pilot for ABC's Filipino American sitcom "Josep," starring comedian Jo Koy!) Ada also produced a video featuring Tess talking about how she copes with her mental health as a Filipina American working in entertainment that you can find in the link above.
A Q&A article with Filipina American psychologist Christine Catipon on what she tells her Filipino clients. This Q&A includes a couple of videos.
As with my first article, I would love to hear any comments or thoughts you might have on the story or the series. I mentioned when the first story was published last year that feedback is invaluable because it shows that there is a desire for these types of stories on a community that is often left out of mainstream media coverage. So please get in touch!
I also want to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude for all the people who helped bring this story to life: Ada Tseng and Matt Ballinger for editing my story; Micah Fluellen for providing art direction; Angelica Alonza for the beautiful illustration capturing one way that the value of kapwa can affect mental health; Albert Brave Tiger Lee, Jessica Q. Chen, Robert Meeks and Ada for putting together the videos for the companion pieces to this article; and LA Times Utility reporter Karen Garcia and former USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism engagement editor Danielle Fox for cofacilitating the focus group I held for this piece.
My next email (or two) will share details about an upcoming event to talk more about cultural values, as well an an upcoming focus group for my next story on substance use.
I’ll be in touch again then!