Health and Well-Being
In January 2007, the A3C conducted a survey to assess the health and well being of Asian American undergraduate and graduate students. Based on the data from this issues and concerns that impact the well being of students were identified. This data was used to design programming and resources that address these concerns and contribute to efforts to de-stigmatize mental health issues and encourage help seeking behaviors.
The iLive Series (formerly the After Dark Series) was launched later that year to address some of the issues identified by survey respondents as key stressors in their lives. The series aims to dispel misconceptions, increase awareness, and encourage dialogue about health and well being topics relevant to Asian Americans and to introduce students to resources on and off campus. Topics addressed include body image, parental and academic pressures, sexuality, stress and social concerns.
A3C survey findings
Major findings of the 2007 A3C API Student Health and Well Being Survey show:
- Undergraduate and Graduate student populations differ in their mental health status.
Undergraduate students are more likely to feel stress, worthlessness, and have concerns about body image. They also have concerns with family expectations, academic performance, and time management.
Graduate students are concerned with feeling guilty and their relationship with their adviser. Graduate students are also more likely to have sought professional mental health treatment.
Most students are not very likely to seek mental health treatment, perhaps due to cultural barriers.
Having a counselor who is knowledgeable about Asian American cultural issues is at least somewhat important to over 60% of the students.
Based upon the high responses for indicators of stress, anxiety, and depression, we would hope to see a high number of these respondents seeking mental health treatment. Because of the mismatch between status and needs, we would like to explore more options for reaching and educating students, possibly through additional resources and programming targeted at Asian American students.
CAPS at the A3C
The Stanford Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers a drop-in hour on Wednesdays, 2-3pm, at the Asian American Activities Center (A3C), to allow Asian/Pacific Islander students to meet with Dr. Kathy Lee, Ph.D., CAPS staff psychologist. During a short 20-minute session, Dr. Lee is available to help you learn more about services and resources offered by CAPS regarding mental health issues and wellness that a student or friend may be experiencing such as stress, relationships, and depression. Counseling sessions can also be arranged to happen at this site on Wednesdays. Her office is in room 209, next to the elevator at the top of the stairs of the Old Union Clubhouse. After talking with Dr. Lee, you can explore whether counseling would be beneficial for you or a friend.
Message from a Student
Health & Well Being
by Gabrielle Gulo ’12
It starts with a small, niggling feeling in the back of your mind—a tiny worry probably from a combination of new classes, new faces and maybe a bit of home-sickness. You tell yourself it’s nothing, just first-week-of-college jitters.
Then it travels down your spine and settles into your gut. Your mood swings. Party on Saturday night? You’re there! But then you come back to your room at 3 a.m. and you feel hollow. It’s sunny and warm and everyone’s so nice here. So why aren’t you smiling and laughing like everyone else?
You call your friends back home. Hearing their voices makes everything seem okay, but the instant they hang up, you’re back to feeling empty. Lonely. Tentatively, you tell your RA a little about that ex-best friend who broke your heart.
“Gaby, it’s okay to feel like this. If you need more than just a talk, I can refer you to someone at CAPS, Counseling and Psychological Services.”
Inside, you feel offended. CAPS? You don’t need to spew out your secrets while lying down on some leather sofa. All you want is to have fun without these stupid mood swings. You tell your RA that you’re fine and life is good; you don’t need professional help.
The next day, you’re walking with a dormmate. She’s lagging behind, so you turn around to snicker at how slow she’s going when you see him. Your ex-best friend, laughing with another girl. Your stomach plummets and you’re grateful you’re wearing sunglasses because oh-my-god-you-can’t-stop-crying. That’s when you really know something is wrong.
It took me a month into fall quarter before I asked my RA to book me an appointment with CAPS. I didn’t want to be the crazy girl, the one who had to see a shrink every week just to cope with some high school friendship. I got into Stanford. I could handle all of this on my own.
But some of us are more deeply affected by broken relationships or family drama. We fracture more easily and our pain resonates in our daily lives. Maybe you lost a best friend, like I did, or maybe you fell in love. Maybe your family has financial problems or someone close to you is sick or dying. Maybe you’re questioning your sexual orientation or you don’t feel comfortable in your skin. These issues are normal, but sometimes, talking to your peers just isn’t enough.
Your peers are going through exactly the same things as you are. My friends, as amazing and supportive as they are, would not have pushed me to admit the abandonment, betrayal and love I felt for the boy who broke my heart. They would not have told me “Gaby, start listening to your needs. Stop pretending that you don’t need anything because you do.”
As Stanford students, we’re special—the “chosen” 7.5 percent. But we’re also human. We hurt, we cry, we get angry. We fail midterms and get Cs on papers (hello, IHUM). We make mistakes and don’t know how to fix them.
And sometimes, we need help.
Vaden Health Center – Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Confidential one-on-one counseling with trained psychologists, stress management, and other health & well being resources. Contact a CAPS on-call clinician at 650-723-3785 for urgent situations anytime, including evenings and weekends.
Naomi Brown, PhD.
Professional interests: Asian/Asian American mental health, eating disorders, body image, cross-cultural psychotherapy; supporting and empowering Native American, Asian American and international students; growth, healing and transformation from suffering loss, grief, change, fear, and crisis.
Kathy Lee, PhD
Professional interests: Asian/Asian American mental health, multiculturalism and diversity, cultural and ethnic identity development, LGBT and questioning, acculturation, interracial relationships, treatment of mood disorders, trauma, grief and loss.
Oliver Lin, PhD
Professional interests: Emotional growth and development, cross cultural issues, spiritual concerns/exploration.
Linda Suk, LCSW
Professional interests: Mental Health and Wellness, multicultural and diversity issues, solution focused therapy, CBT, clinical case management, program development.
Wellness and Health Promotion Services
Educational workshops and individual consultations including substance abuse prevention, nutrition, sexual health and relationships
Other Campus Resources
Undergraduate Residence Deans
Support and consultation for resident hall staff and crisis intervention for students.
Undergraduate Academic Life
Asian American Activities Center (A3C)
General advising and referrals to campus resources
The Bridge Peer Counseling Center
Confidential 24 hour peer counseling.
The Office of Sexual Assault & Relationship Abuse Education & Response (SARA)
Prevention, education, intervention and outreach