In “Just Be Happy,” Dr. Bibi Das plays a mother struggling to talk to her daughter, played by Preeti Talwai, about depression. (Photo: Jeff Enlow/KQED)
In Palo Alto, where Asian Americans make up nearly 40 percent of the student population, they also make up roughly 40 percent of youth suicides over the last decade. And in just the last two years, four out of five teen suicides in Palo Alto have been East Asian kids.
But many parents are first-generation immigrants, leery of acknowledging and addressing mental health problems. So psychiatrists at Stanford University are turning to an unlikely art form to start the conversation: theater.
“A lot of parents are reluctant to talk about their own feelings,” says Dr. Rona Hu, a second-generation Chinese American Stanford psychiatrist and the main force behind a volunteer theater troupe whose job it is to model good parenting techniques informed by American psychiatry. “Immigrant parents often aren’t aware of or prepared for the way that their teenagers behave in this culture, because it’s so different from the way that they were raised.”
For the full article and an audio piece, please go here