After being largely under the radar for three years, Hollywood actor Constance Wu broke her silence last week, opening up about her mental health, and in doing so, admitting there’s still a lot of work left to do for and within the Asian American community. 2019 social media backlash led her to a mental health crisis and a suicide attempt, Wu revealed on Twitter last week.
“I was afraid of coming back on social media because I almost lost my life from it,” Wu wrote. “[Asian Americans] don’t talk about mental health enough. While we’re quick to celebrate representation wins, there’s a lot of avoidance around the more uncomfortable issues within our community.”
“Asian American women want to be their authentic selves but their image and behavior are prescribed by society and family expectations,” says Hyeouk Chris Hahm, an associate dean of research at Boston University’s School of Social Work, who has extensively studied mental health disparities in the Asian American community.
While no two experiences are alike, Hahm points out that in spaces like the workplace, many Asian American women are stereotyped to be soft-spoken, respectful, and followers rather than leaders. When they try to break out of that mold by speaking up for themselves, they can be met with pushback, Hahm added.
Read more at NPR.org.