“What we learn when we gather in spaces like this, is that not only are we not alone, but we are cared for and there is power in sharing our stories that we’ve been carrying as unwanted baggage. Once we open up our experiences and share them and explore their contents, we create a new story because we see how strong those experiences have actually made us.” – Ryan Alexander Holmes, Actor
AMHC provides many resources and programs to support Asians in every stage of their mental health journeys. One of these programs is WAVES, a series of events such as roundtables, guest speaker panels, and other meetups that foster connection and awareness of mental health in the Asian community. The main goal of WAVES is to create a sense of community and a safe space for the Asian community to discuss their mental health.
Learn more about WAVES from two of our amazing team members, Christian De Luna and Vivian Duong.
Q. How did WAVES get its start? What does WAVES do?
Christian: WAVES was co-founded in New York City in Summer 2018 by Eric Pai and myself. We wanted to create an informal space where folks could come talk about any topic—all without the inherent stigma that mental health entails. We envisioned a community where folks could walk into a room and know that everyone else “knows” and has been through their own journeys and struggles.
Vivian: WAVES was founded by Christian de Luna and Eric Pai. We hold community events to discuss our collective Asian experience and its impact on mental health.
Q. What do you love the most about working on the WAVES team at AMHC?
Christian: There are so many people who want to help our community. It’s been amazing to see the volunteerism put forth by all members of our team. I’ve met so many great folks (digitally for many), but I feel like I’ve known them forever at this point.
Vivian: What I love about WAVES is that we aim to bring the community together to have crucial, collective conversations on mental well-being. It’s fun — being able to connect, learn, and explore different perspectives from folks of different backgrounds. No mental health journey is entirely the same.
Q. What have you learned about Asian mental health as a WAVES member?
Christian: Asian is a monolithic term used to describe a broad swatch of cultures and ethnicities. There are so many nuances that each Asian person brings to the table based on their identities and upbringings, all factoring into their individual mental health. Mental health is not a one-size fits all matter, and being able to make the space more contextual and personable is really exciting work. I can’t wait to see where the road leads from here.
Vivian: Mental health is not linear. It is not always consistent. Some days, the tides are high, other days, they are low. Sometimes, they can be sporadic and chaotic like a raging storm. Maintaining your mental health isn’t always easy. However, you do not need to go through the mental health WAVES alone.