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Break the Silence: Challenges with East Asian Mental Health Representation in America

Event Date:

September 30, 2020

Event Time:

4:00 pm

Mental health among Asian Americans is seldom discussed within the community. Despite having a 17.3% lifetime rate of any psychiatric disorder, Asian Americans are three times less likely to seek mental health services than their White counterparts (National Latino and Asian American Study, 2012). Complex racial trauma can result from a perpetual foreigner stereotype, cultural shock, religious intolerance, language barriers, emigration from conflict areas and subsequent generational trauma compounded with discrimination.

Many systemic barriers contribute to the silence among Asian Americans, including stigma/ discrimination against mental illness, cultural expectations to conform, language barriers, and lack of accessibility to mental health care facilities in Asian American communities, to name a few. To exacerbate the issue, the lack of diversity among mental health professionals contributes to cultural incompetency in the field.

As our commitment to continue the conversation on inclusivity, intersectionality and anti-racism in mental health, Chicago Minds is delving into a series of panel discussions focused on the experiences of different cultural/ ethnic groups in seeking and providing mental health care.

In this session, we invite 4 talented panelists to share their insights and understanding about the unique challenges faced by the East Asian community. Join us to hear their honest perspectives on personal and professional journeys.

*We believe that understanding the heterogeneity of Asian American cultures is crucial to breaking barriers in mental health care for this community. Please keep a lookout for a separate panel that focuses on South Asian experiences.



Joseph Chen, PhD, LCP

Dr. Joseph Chen is a licensed clinical psychologist and an associate professor of psychology and adult learning at DePaul University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.  As a clinician, he started TransformEdge, a psychotherapy practice focused on helping patients make positive change.  As a professor, he teaches and conducts research on the process of change in educational and cultural settings.  He obtained a B.A. in Psychology from Wheaton College (IL), and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University.  He completed his predoctoral internship and a clinical postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California Berkeley.

Jacqueline Thanh, MSW

Jacqueline Thanh is a heart-centered leader, spirit conscious innovator and creator who thrives on forging pathways for sustainable post traumatic growth and resilience for the next generation of leaders. Her work centers on intuitive, symbolic, and practical healing through critical unlearning and redefining leadership, identity exploration, decolonizing trauma, program development, and organizational management while working across racial, cultural, and generational lines for youth and families on the frontlines of New Orleans, Chicago, Oakland, and San Francisco. Jacqueline is the Founder of The Golden Palanquin, a sacred space created to offer a foundation of art and culture as a voice and vehicle of the Asian diasporic experience. She is also currently the Executive Director of VAYLA New Orleans, where she leads an intersectional and historical non-profit in movement building, organizing, education, & leadership incubation through civic engagement, environmental justice, reproductive justice as well as advocacy initiatives in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jacqueline is a first generation college graduate that holds a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Social Work and Global Health Administration and Policy Certification from the University of Chicago.

Eric Seto, PsyD, LCP

Dr. Eric Seto is a licensed clinical psychologist who provides individual, family, and couple therapy through his private practice. He has a special interest in culturally competent and sensitive treatment of Asian Americans struggling with issues of identity, family of origin dynamics, career aspirations, and relational conflict. He is passionate about combating the stigma of mental illness commonly found amongst this population and raising awareness in the community. Dr. Seto also has an extensive background working in child trauma and is a graduate of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

May Han, LMFT

As an international student turned couples therapist. May Han spent a big portion of her adulthood years in the U.S. learning, and later,  providing culturally sensitive therapies to clients from all walks of lives. With a M.S Degree from the Northwestern University in Marriage and Family Therapy, May enjoys assisting individuals and couples working through pains to a deeply connected, authentic, and satisfying life for themselves and with each other. Using her knowledge in attachment theory, mindfulness and interpersonal neurology, May facilitates mutual emotional attentiveness within her clients and their loved ones and helps people shift from defensiveness to openness and authentic connections. As a therapist with visible and invisible social-cultural identities, May uses her intersectionality in the therapy room to reflect, be with and gently challenge people coming through her door who are impacted by the bigger social political context towards personal exploration and transformation. In her spare time, May enjoys spending quiet time with her husband and two cats while having long phone conversations with her beloved extended family back in China.

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Event Schedule Details

  • September 30, 2020 4:00 pm   -   September 23, 2020 5:00 pm
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