Let's Talk About Filipino American mental health recap
About 20 people attended last week's event, and everyone expressed appreciation for a safe space to have mental health discussions.
Hello and happy Monday!
I know I said in my last newsletter that the next one would be a Q&A with Michelle Lagasca, who illustrated the first story in my series. But I thought I would provide an update on last Friday’s event, Let’s Talk About Filipino American Mental Health.
If you’re a new subscriber, welcome! The event I’m referring to was a virtual gathering that was held last to provide the Filipino American community with a space to talk about mental health. It kicked off a four-part series I’ll be working on over the next year about Filipino American mental health. (More about that here.) We had about 20 people who attended, and we divided everyone up into four breakout sessions to talk about colonial mentality, depression and suicidal ideation, substance abuse and Catholicism.
Some people asked if we were going to record the sessions. We didn’t because the goal was to create a safe space for folks to share their thoughts and experiences related to mental health.
But I will say that it was a powerful 90 minutes of sharing with and listening to one another. At the end of the breakout sessions, we took a couple of minutes to hear from each group about what was discussed. It was clear that people found the space valuable, in large part because they found it helpful to know they weren’t alone in their experiences.
We asked everyone who attended to fill out a quick survey to let the team who helped organize the event know how it went. I’m providing a link to it here because there are other questions in it that you can answer even if you weren’t there. Namely, we’re curious about what types of events related to the project that the Filipino American community would be interested in. There are also a few questions related to how the LA Times can better serve the community. If you haven’t filled it out yet, the team would greatly appreciate if you could take a few minutes to answer whatever questions you can. We did our best to keep it brief because we know surveys can get long sometimes. Responses don’t need to be too detailed, but any feedback we receive will help us serve you better.
The reason we chose to create a space to talk about mental health for this first event was because of some observations I’ve made and feedback I’ve received in some of my previous reporting. Last year as I reported on a series about healthcare access for Orange County’s Cambodian and Vietnamese communities, and as I reported on a three-part series about the impact of COVID-19 on Filipino Americans earlier this year, one thing became clear: there’s a lack of these spaces, but communities want more of them. In focus groups I’ve held and interviews I’ve conducted, people have expressed so much gratitude for a space to talk about mental health.
I say all of that to say that I value your input, and the team involved in this project is listening. (So please fill out the survey if you have a moment!)
I again just want to thank the groups who helped make Friday’s event possible: Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, SSG Silver, Change Your Algorithm, and Wellness with Andrea Jakucs & Associates. All four of these groups provide mental health services, and I’ve linked to all of them so you have them available to you as a resource. I also want to thank Danielle Fox for running tech last week.
That’s it for today. The Q&A with Michelle is coming up next.