most Asian American teens are emotionally healthy and thriving. But government statistics suggest that a substantial number struggle emotionally. Among Asian American high school students, 29 percent have reported feeling “sad or hopeless” for at least two weeks in a row during the past year, enough to interfere with their daily lives, according to a recent national youth survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That figure is slightly higher than that of teens from all racial groups, 28 percent.
Nine Asian American high school students from Malden received awards for their “Photovoice” projects on mental health during the Strides Against Stigma event on April 27 at Boston University’s Nickerson Field.
The project originated from the Chinese Culture Connection in Malden, and was supported by the Institute for Community Health and the Asian American Civic Association.
Seasonal affective disorder is a specific form of depression that only occurs during a certain time of the year. In rare cases, this can actually be the summertime, but for most people, it occurs in the winter months. Similar to regular depression, it tends to arise during the teenage years and early adulthood, especially for women.
Mental illness has a stigma in the Chinese community, making it difficult for affected individuals to seek help. “Many people feel ashamed about their problems and doubt the treatment,” said George Hsu, a retired professor of psychiatric medicine at Tufts Medical Center, who participated in the series.