Many people still hesitate to get help for their mental health in a way they wouldn’t for their physical health. Jeanie Chang, LMFT, CCFP, joins me on Leading with Health to talk about the importance of mental health and how the stigma surrounding it plays out in Asian American communities.

Jeanie Chang is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional in North Carolina. She’s the founder of Your Change Provider, a therapeutic practice founded on solutions and multicultural competence for authentic self-care and wellness. Jeanie has a diverse career background having started her career as a broadcast journalist, as well as working in corporate public relations and client success management before receiving her calling as a mental health clinician. This is why Jeanie is passionate about promoting corporate wellness and addressing mental health stigma in the community, especially among Asian Americans.

As a second generation Korean American, Jeanie seeks to be active in the Asian American community. She is currently serving as president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals and is launching a national wellness program for them in August 2020, called Self-Care and Wellness.

Highlights include:

5:25 – JC: “A lot of people really don’t understand the term mental health.”

10:43 – JC: “This is all about cultural competence.”

10:45 – JC: “Do not be hesitant to ask direct and pointed questions. Meaning, ‘Okay, so is that something that’s very common in your culture?’ There is nothing wrong with asking that to provide the help that patient needs.”

11:40 – JC: “They don’t get the help they need and then it grows, it becomes a chronic issue. And then when they go for help, sometimes they’re scared to tell you what the real problem is.”

12:30 – JC: “It’s very taboo in the Asian American community to talk about emotions – that sounds so basic, but that’s very real.”

13:13 – JC: “It’s very normal to experience stress. In fact, if we don’t experience stress in life then were abnormal.”

13:56 – JC: “Pointedly ask, ‘Are you feeling sad?’ ‘Have you been crying recently?’ That’s okay to ask; you’re the medical provider.”

16:00 – JC: “You have to understand that this is the culture that they were raised in.”

18:55 – JC: “I love the integrated care format where interdisciplinary providers like a therapist like myself and then a physician, and then a nurse practitioner can work together for the sake of the patients.”

19:20 – JC: “I encourage providers to understand that cultural competency is a very overarching thing that’ll help them be even more effective with their patients.”

22:00 – JC: “I thought a great way to give back to my community was to launch a national program. There are three tiers to it: emotional wellness, which is my realm; physical wellness, which is the medical providers I work with; and then financial wellness.”

22:43 – JC: “Financial health is huge. I couldn’t underestimate the power of that in someone’s mental and physical well being.”

23:30 – JC: “I want to change the stigma.”

23:31 – JC: “According to a Harvard study that’s still going for 80 plus years, the key to happiness is relationships. It’s all about relationships.”

25:53 – JC: “The regret that I hear is, ‘I wish I had more time for family.’ Or, ‘I work too hard so now I don’t know this person in my family.’ You hear that all the time. Nobody ever says, ‘I regret making all this money.’ It’s more like ‘I regret that I was so busy working that my son just grew up and now he’s out of the house and I barely know him.'”

27:10 – JM: “Love is what binds us as a community.”

30:19 – JC: “There are more men in leadership; they are the decision makers in the Asian-American community. So I need to reach them because I need their buy-in and to understand the importance of what I’m doing through this program.”

Leading with Health is hosted by Jennifer Michelle. Jennifer has a Master’s in Public Health and Epidemiology and is a certified EMT. As President of Michelle Marketing Strategies, Jennifer specializes in healthcare marketing. She is on a mission to help women find their voice so they can create a stronger, more responsive healthcare system.