Chriselle Lim and Love, Team Bonito at AAPI and Mental Health Initiative – WWD

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Chriselle Lim and Love, Bonito join forces to advocate for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month.

Southeast Asia-based influencers and fashion brands work together to support AAPI women and emphasize the importance of mental health awareness in the community by advocating for better healthcare and resources. Lim and the fashion brand made a $20,000 donation to the Asian Mental Health Project, which provides mental health resources to the Asian-American community.

“It is highly stigmatized especially within [the Asian] culture in terms of mental health and taking care of your mental health,” said Lim. “We’re actually the ethnic group least likely to get mental health help even if we needed it, so this is something I really feel like and it’s kind of like mixing up my three worlds: fashion, mental health and AAPI Heritage Month.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, AAPI people have the lowest rate of seeking help of any ethnic group with only 23.3 percent of adults seeking mental health care in 2019.

Lim also stressed that this initiative is important given the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes amid the pandemic.

“Even before the pandemic, the AAPI community was the ethnic group least likely to actually get mental health care because of the systemic barriers and stigma surrounding therapy,” he continued. “That’s coupled with the racism and discrimination related to COVID-19, I think [for] Asian Americans — especially Asian American women — are more important than ever now that we make more actionable steps for us to be able to change what I think is stigmatized in our culture and also not to be ashamed of it.”

Along with the donation, Love, Bonito launched the #LBWomenofAAPI content series highlighting several Asian-American women, including Joan Nguyen Tran, co-founder and CEO of childcare brand Bümo, and Carrie Zhang, founder of the Asia Mental Health Project. . The women will open up about their own mental health journey and talk about their Asian-American identity in the content series. The series is also intended to provide insight into AAPI culture and the Asian experience.

“Representation is very important,” said Lim of her involvement in Love, Bonito’s AAPI Heritage Month initiative. “That’s what Love, Bonito is doing for the Asian community. A lot of people, like, ‘What’s the Asian-American experience?’ Because it’s not really talked about. In short, you’re never quite Asian because you’re not Asian enough from Asia, and you’re never quite American either because you’re not physically ‘American look’, which is white. So as Asian Americans growing up we were always playing between two worlds like trying to be Asian, but also trying to be American. It has become our home, which is our middle ground and that center. That’s how we’ve always lived. That’s how we live today and it’s an Asian-American experience.”

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