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?

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?

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.

Asian Mental Health Collective