Dear community, As we close out the year 2021, we are filled with immense gratitude and love. The Asian community has experienced so much in the past year, with moments of both pain and joy coming to mind. Not only did we undergo some of the most trying times in our histories, but we also displayed incredible resilience and learned ways to collectively pursue healing and support one another. In this issue, you will see us highlight the accomplishments of 2021 and our future plans to step into the new year. 












Support AMHC! If you are looking for ways to continue to support our mission to normalize and destigmatize mental health,  please refer to our links and most importantly SHARE with your loved ones about the Asian Mental Health Collective. We appreciate your support. Thank you for all that you do for us and the community. Warmly,
The Asian Mental Health Collective (AMHC)
 Support AMHCCopyright © 2021, Asian Mental Health Collective, All rights reserved

The Lotus is our monthly email newsletter that spotlights AMHC’s volunteers, lifts up diasporic Asian mental health stories, and provides resources and support for the Asian community. Learn more from two of the amazing women behind the newsletter, Nico Cruz and Tina Tran, and be sure to subscribe to get all the latest from AMHC.

1) How did you get involved with AMHC?

Nico:
After a five month hiatus from graphic design, my older brother asked me if I was interested in being involved with AMHC and their email newsletter that was in the works. Though I was in the Subtle Asian Mental Health Facebook group, my knowledge on AMHC or what they were all about was very limited. Regardless, something inside me was telling me, “why not try it out? It could be a great experience and really fun.” I told my brother that I was interested, and a few days later, Lisa Cheng, Chief of Human Resources for AMHC, contacted me. Since then, I haven’t looked back! Not only am I a part of AMHC’s amazing newsletter team, but I also have the privilege of interning with them as well.

Tina: I’m a member of Subtle Asian Mental Health, which is where I was introduced to AMHC. After seeing a post from Lisa Cheng about volunteer opportunities, I decided to apply and have been with AMHC ever since! I particularly wanted to join the newsletter team as I have always loved doing outreach and writing articles. As someone going into the medical field, I don’t have many opportunities to expand on my creative interests. Joining AMHC’s newsletter team gave me a chance to combine my love for writing with my interest in mental health.


2) Tell us about The Lotus–what is it and how does it engage the AMHC community?

Nico: The Lotus serves as an outlet for many different opportunities. For starters, it’s used as a way to shine a spotlight on members of our community and recognize them for all that they’ve done to support Asian mental health thus far. AMHC is a fully volunteer-led organization and without the hard work and dedication that every volunteer contributes, AMHC would not be where it is today. The newsletter also creates the most efficient way possible for our team to gather and share information about past and upcoming AMHC events, mental health resources and people/organizations that need to be recognized.

Tina: The newsletter combines all of AMHC’s organization updates with new, engaging content every month. We focus on different themes every edition, like Pride month or Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and we feature rising leaders in the Asian community who are working hard to bring awareness to their respective issues. Our newsletter also gives a rundown of resources that are important for the community to be aware of. Last but not least, the newsletter gives a quick update on everything new in AMHC to help connect and grow the community. 



3) What do you love most about being on AMHC’s newsletter team?


Nico: I am proud to be a part of this small, but mighty group of women, and I will never get tired of saying that! In all honesty, I’ve always struggled with working in teams. I constantly feared letting other members of my team down and continuously told myself that I wouldn’t be able to contribute enough. Working with The Lotus team has helped me get over these fears and see the value in teamwork. It is what you make of it, right? I found in this team a group of compassionate and resilient women who showed me that even when life continues to place barriers in front of us, it really isn’t the end of the world. Even if plans need to be shifted around, we adjust and move forward.

Tina: I love being able to work alongside such strong and resilient women! I am honored to have met all the brilliant women on this team and have learned so much from them. They have helped inspire me to take charge of my mental health and have become a great support in my life. Our team may be small, but we are very mighty!


4) What are some ways you’ve learned to care for your mental health?

Nico:
For a long time, I had a horrible habit of neglecting myself and not seeing the purpose of rest. I would work and tell myself that I couldn’t rest until I accomplished everything on my plate. However, I didn’t end up getting the rest that I needed. Instead, I burnt out and spent an excessive amount of time recuperating. This became a cycle for me until I finally told myself that I needed to find a way to balance both my priorities and myself. With the holidays coming up, one of my favorite ways to rest is to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie while wrapped up in a blanket and snuggled against my new pups, Adam and Rio. I also enjoy trying new recipes, catching up on my favorite tv shows (i.e. Grey’s Anatomy, The Resident, and The Flash) and if I really have the time, read a good book.

Tina: Self-care is a department that I am still struggling in and I constantly have to remind myself to take some time to rest. I was raised to always be grinding and working hard and I definitely still have that mindset. However, my parents grew up in a time period where grinding was the only way to survive. Since I am lucky to have the opportunity to work hard on my own terms, I have been able to find ways to relax and recuperate. Some of my favorite things to do are read and listen to music as I find these activities very comforting. I re-read Harry Potter every year just for that sense of nostalgia. I also love watching shows like, “Only Murders in the Building” on Hulu. Playing with my four dogs is another way I am able to forget about the world for a minute.

Jane Kusuma is an illustrator and designer from Seattle and the one-woman team behind Jovietajane Creative Studio. As the Asian Mental Health Collective (AMHC) began to expand and rebrand, Jane Kusuma graciously reached out to our organization to donate her time and energy into designing the rebrand. Following the Black Lives Matter movement and the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, Kusuma realized she wanted to donate her time, not just her money. Kusuma chose AMHC after finding our organization through Instagram. She mentions how “mental health is the last thing people think about and donate to” and how she was inspired by her own mental health struggles to donate her time for AMHC. Kusuma wanted to modernize and neutralize AMHC’s branding to make it accessible for all ages. She used soft, tranquil color palettes to create a calm and containing environment for everyone who wants to be a part of AMHC

Jane Kusuma was born in Indonesia and discovered a love for drawing at an early age. At 14, she solidified her decision to pursue the arts and worked towards a career in graphic design. After getting her start in working for major toy companies like Hasbro and Mattel, she began to do freelance work on the side. Kusuma was then sponsored by a company and began working in a corporate setting. However, after a period of time, she began to suffer from burnout and realized her mental health was deteriorating. She took a 3-month sabbatical to reevaluate her life and realized she “would be so much happier doing freelance work.”She jokes about “being allergic to the 9-5 schedule” as her most creative hours are in the early morning and at night. Kusuma asserts how the ability to set her own timelines, choose her own clients, and experience different creative projects helps fuel her artistic nature. 

When it comes to mental health, Jane Kusuma reflects on how she has struggled with anxiety and depression throughout her life. At 28, she started to recognize the importance of rest. She remarks, “My mental state will always affect my art. I used to think that if I was struggling I would make better art but that isn’t true.” Kusuma has since placed an emphasis on including joy in her art and making sure to take the time slow down and rest as needed. 

Her final reflections include a message to those who want to pursue the creative arts. She asserts that there is no need to buy expensive equipment but rather, to “use the resources you already have.” She notes using online resources and platforms like Skillshare to learn and expand on one’s artistic abilities. Kusuma also believes that college isn’t necessary to those who want to pursue the arts as there are many other ways to learn. 

In regards to Asian mental health, Jane Kusuma expresses the importance of speaking out and being open about mental health issues, in spite of being raised in cultures where silence and silencing is the norm, and where mental health is stigmatized. Kusuma acknowledges the difficulty of the times andand emphasizes the need, now more than ever, to care for ourselves. 

Puppy ig: @jasper.thepreppy.westie

In honor of Filipino American History Month, we’re revisiting Asian Identity and mental health, with special guest Alyssa “Lia” Mancao who manages @alyssamariewellness on Instagram. Join us as we talk about mental health, being asian, and answer some questions from the community.

AMHC content (including this video) may include information provided by mental health professionals, but watching this video does not establish a therapist-client relationship. The views and thoughts expressed by the individuals are solely their own and do not reflect those of AMHC. Reliance on any information through the AMHC content is solely at your own risk. The information in this video is provided on an “as is” basis. This information should not be interpreted as professional medical or mental health advice. Please consult with your health care providers such as your physician or therapist if you have any questions about the topics being discussed.

This week we’re answering some questions we received from some of our community members in our Facebook group. We couldn’t answer all of them but we hope that these answers give you a place to start thinking about and managing anxiety.

AMHC content (including this video) may include information provided by mental health professionals, but watching this video does not establish a therapist-client relationship. The views and thoughts expressed by the individuals are solely their own and do not reflect those of AMHC. Reliance on any information through the AMHC content is solely at your own risk. The information in this video is provided on an “as is” basis. This information should not be interpreted as professional medical or mental health advice. Please consult with your health care providers such as your physician or therapist if you have any questions about the topics being discussed.

This week we’re continuing our conversation on school anxiety. We explore a few more of the specifics regarding school anxiety and try our best to wrap up this big topic. Next week we’ll be answering some of the questions that the community has brought up, be sure to tune in to see if your questions are answered!

AMHC content (including this video) may include information provided by mental health professionals, but watching this video does not establish a therapist-client relationship. The views and thoughts expressed by the individuals are solely their own and do not reflect those of AMHC. Reliance on any information through the AMHC content is solely at your own risk. The information in this video is provided on an “as is” basis. This information should not be interpreted as professional medical or mental health advice. Please consult with your health care providers such as your physician or therapist if you have any questions about the topics being discussed.

This week we’re continuing our conversations on anxiety, more specifically we focused on the anxieties of going back to school, especially in the times of covid. There was a lot to cover and we tried to cover a lot in this episode, but we’ll be back with part two of this conversation next week!

AMHC content (including this video) may include information provided by mental health professionals, but watching this video does not establish a therapist-client relationship. The views and thoughts expressed by the individuals are solely their own and do not reflect those of AMHC. Reliance on any information through the AMHC content is solely at your own risk. The information in this video is provided on an “as is” basis. This information should not be interpreted as professional medical or mental health advice. Please consult with your health care providers such as your physician or therapist if you have any questions about the topics being discussed.

We took a break last week for self-care, but we’re back this week to discuss anxiety. We tried to cover most of the basics of anxiety, and we hope to address it more in depth in the future. If you have questions about anxiety, please feel free to drop them in the comments below. We’ll be back next week, starting a series on school and the struggles that mental health struggles that come with it.

AMHC content (including this video) may include information provided by mental health professionals, but watching this video does not establish a therapist-client relationship. The views and thoughts expressed by the individuals are solely their own and do not reflect those of AMHC. Reliance on any information through the AMHC content is solely at your own risk. The information in this video is provided on an “as is” basis. This information should not be interpreted as professional medical or mental health advice. Please consult with your health care providers such as your physician or therapist if you have any questions about the topics being discussed.

With everything going on in the world, we decided that it would be a good time to address the issue of self-care. We share a few tips and personal ways that we’ve been addressing our own stress and negative emotions during this time. Please join us again next week as we talk explore the anxieties of going back to school.

AMHC content (including this video) may include information provided by mental health professionals, but watching this video does not establish a therapist-client relationship. The views and thoughts expressed by the individuals are solely their own and do not reflect those of AMHC. Reliance on any information through the AMHC content is solely at your own risk. The information in this video is provided on an “as is” basis. This information should not be interpreted as professional medical or mental health advice. Please consult with your health care providers such as your physician or therapist if you have any questions about the topics being discussed.

This week we’re wrapping up this series on boundaries and we’re exploring what boundaries might look like at work and with family and how to navigate them. Join us again next week as we explore various aspects of self-care, particularly in these uncertain and stressful times.

AMHC content (including this video) may include information provided by mental health professionals, but watching this video does not establish a therapist-client relationship. The views and thoughts expressed by the individuals are solely their own and do not reflect those of AMHC. Reliance on any information through the AMHC content is solely at your own risk. The information in this video is provided on an “as is” basis. This information should not be interpreted as professional medical or mental health advice. Please consult with your health care providers such as your physician or therapist if you have any questions about the topics being discussed.

Asian Mental Health Collective