Written by: Hannah Mutluri
Mental health is still a stigma for most Asians and for many years, stayed that way. Yet, somehow it is still difficult for many of us raised in an environment with high or unrelated expectations, we feel the pressure or the anxiety is normal. People might deny that this is a serious issue and that it is just reaching your ‘potential’ that you are capable of achieving and don’t realize the benefit and happiness it will grant you in the future. Many of these experiences are traumatizing. Questioning your self worth, doubting your intellect, experiencing PTSD, these all can leave a long term effect on a being’s mental health. Raised in a secular country where keeping tradition is more important than growing in your own journey and learning what you want and are capable of achieving. Ranking systems are built into schools and educational institutions. Most Asian children either already have to know what they plan to pursue or have to choose the career path of engineering or doctorate degree. I’m sure many of us can relate to these feelings. We have had 1-2 people ask us about our life plan and what we plan on doing. Growing up in a nation where you have to be top of your game in order to be the perfect child makes it difficult for us to find ourselves. If you research the top toughest examinations in the world, you will find they are in countries like India and China. This raises the expectations of students in such countries to be part of the competition in order to rise above or “survive”. If you decide to go for an Arts degree or something out of science and engineering, you will most likely be looked down upon in Asian countries.
Even if we put aside the educational competitions, there are even expectations to maintain your traditional beliefs and shift your behavior accordingly. To represent your family or culture well in order to live up to the expectations kept. This may even challenge children and teenagers to question themselves even more. As a young adult, figuring yourself out as you grow up is already confusing. Now when having a set path that you're supposed to quietly tread on will start to make you question the life you are living is even lived to its fullest. Social media may be an addition to the individual feeling like they can’t be the person they feel they could be or be a part of the growing trends due to the restrictions and limitations.
These important factors can lead to many Asians suffering with PTSD, Anxiety and Depression. But these factors have also become very normalized to the point that if that person is working to exhaustion for a job they never wanted, the hard work and dedication towards that is good and normal when it is the increase in anomic suicides.
As the world progresses every day, becoming more open to the options for a person’s growth and interest, slowly this prejudice and stereotype will come to a halt.