Asian-American students are expected to be successful in school, and first-generation students are expected to have grit and a strong work ethic. However, the lawsuit against Harvard for the suicide of Luke Tang and recent death of sophomore Kirk Wu at my school reveal that such stereotypes are harmful.
An article by U.S. News reports that college students are becoming more proactive in addressing their mental health. However, why do Asian students remain the least likely to seek help? It is recognized that other cultures have experiences with mental health, but it is striking that Asian students don’t seek help as much as their peers.
In reality, many cultural factors affect the mental health of Asian-Americans, preventing them from actively seeking help for mental health. In a traditional Asian household, the family unit holds great importance. Each person has a clear role in this hierarchy. Specifically, if you are a child, you must work hard in school to support your parents when they retire. You must set aside any pain because you cannot neglect the people who raised you. Being a son of Asian immigrants, it is even harder to do so because mental health is not discussed in Asian households. Sons are expected to remain level-headed while handling the most work.
However, Asian American students need to know that they are not alone in their struggle with mental health. The amount of cultural expectations may feel overwhelming. However, the current generation should not surrender to these expectations. By becoming more active in managing our own mental health, one can break the negative stigma of mental health in Asian cultures.
Read more at NextShark.com.