Coming from an immigrant family, like an Asian family or a Mediterranean family, we don’t really prioritise our mental health. We’re taught (indirectly or directly):
• to focus on academics or whatever our parents tell us to do
• not to regularly talk about our emotions or express them in healthy ways
• not to bring shame to the family or lose face
We need and benefit from mental health support as much as people from dominant cultures but we don’t access mental health services as much as other groups. We experience common concerns like anxiety and procrastination, more difficult experiences like dealing with Asian parents or immigrant parents, all the way to bigger issues like burnout and toxic family members.
Some of us don’t ask for help or we prefer help outside of mental health professionals, like people we know, self-help books, our GP. Maybe we don’t want to worry others or maybe we don’t want the shame when admitting we need support; think “Haji” for Japanese people, “Hiya” for Filipino people, “Mianzi” for Chinese people, and “Chaemyun” for Korean people.
So, what happens is we might have temporary ‘fixes’ but the concerns keep popping back up after a while or we keep delaying getting professional support until it gets to the point where things get really serious e.g., inpatient care.
Personal skills coaching and psychology
Enhancing Minds aims to build the capacity of people from immigrant or migrant families so that we can live life our way. Whether you want to feel better, feel heard when with others, achieve more, or something else. The service was created to make counselling more user-friendly by combining coaching with psychology. It sits in between informal support and traditional therapy, in a space that’s productive and supportive but not too uncomfortable or unfamiliar.
The overall aim is to get you closer to the life that you want to live and the way you want to be. Whether you have a goal in mind or you have barriers and concerns you’re facing, this combination of coaching and psychology encourages you to take the lead as much as possible. I’ll provide guidance and support as needed, but I want you to have a say in the direction and the ideas that we come up with.
We will be working towards positive and practical changes by honing the way you think. We’ll also work towards having a better understanding of what’s happening for you by reflecting on your upbringing, life experiences, the system around, and/or your cultural and socio-political context. If needed, I will provide another perspective or even challenge you a little.
I will bring my knowledge in human behaviour, emotions and cognition, but I believe in rousing your inherent potential for growth. So, we’ll be tapping into your existing strengths (whether you can see them or not), values and beliefs to tackle the barriers and the concerns that you’re currently facing and move towards where you want to be.
Growing up in an Asian family with lots of aunties, uncles and cousins, I believe that we can support each other and build each other’s capacity using the knowledge and skills we’ve gained through life. I hope to provide you with the support that you want.
Chu, J.P., & Sue, S. (2011). Asian American Mental Health: What We Know and What We Don’t Know. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 3(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1026
Han, M. & Pong, H. (2015). Mental Health Help-Seeking Behaviors Among Asian American Community College Students: The Effect of Stigma, Cultural Barriers, and Acculturation. Journal of College Student Development, 56(1), 1-14.
Yang, K.G., Rodgers, C.R.R., Lee, E., & Cook, B.L. (2020). Disparities in Mental Health Care Utilization and Perceived Need Among Asian Americans: 2012–2016. Psychiatric Services, 71(1), 21-27.