Chriselle Lim and Love, Bonito are joining forces to advocate for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month.
The influencer and Southeast Asia-based fashion brand are teaming to support AAPI women and stress the importance of mental health awareness within the community by advocating for better resources and health care. Lim and the fashion brand are making a donation of $20,000 to the Asian Mental Health Project, which provides mental health resources to Asian American communities.
“It’s stigmatized a lot especially within [the Asian] culture when it comes to mental health and taking care of your mental health,” Lim said. “We’re actually the least likely ethnic group to get mental health help even if we need it, so it’s something that I felt really strongly about and it’s kind of mixing my three worlds: fashion, mental health and AAPI Heritage Month.”
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, AAPI people have the lowest help-seeking rate of any ethnic group with only 23.3 percent of adults seeking mental health treatment in 2019.
Lim also stressed this initiative is important considering the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes amid the pandemic.
“Even pre-pandemic, the AAPI community was the least likely ethnic group to actually get mental health treatment due to systemic barriers and stigmas around therapy,” she continued. “That coupled with COVID-19-related racism and discrimination, I think [for] Asian Americans — particularly Asian American women — it’s more important than ever now that we create more actionable steps for us to be able to change what I guess is stigmatized in our cultures and also to not be ashamed of it.”
Along with the donation, Love, Bonito is launching a #LBWomenofAAPI content series that spotlights several Asian American women, including Joan Nguyen Tran, the cofounder and chief executive officer of child care brand Bümo, and Carrie Zhang, founder of the Asian Mental Health Project. The women will open up about their own mental health journeys and talk about their Asian American identities in the content series. The series is also meant to give insight into AAPI culture and the Asian experience.
“Representation is really important,” Lim said about being involved in Love, Bonito’s AAPI Heritage Month initiatives. “That’s what Love, Bonito is really doing for the Asian community. A lot of people are, like, ‘What is the Asian American experience?’ Because it’s not really talked about. In a nutshell, you’re never Asian enough because you’re not Asian from Asia, and you’re also never American enough because you’re not physically ‘American looking,’ which is white. So being an Asian American, growing up we’ve always been tinkering between two worlds of like trying to be Asian, but also trying to be American. That has become our home, which is our middle ground and that centerpiece. That’s how we’ve always lived. It’s how we’re currently living and it is the Asian American experience.”
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