Event: Let’s talk about Filipino American mental health (and do karaoke!)


On Nov. 13, The Times and Sunday Jump hosted a panel about Filipino American mental health, followed by a friendly karaoke competition between Asian American mental health organizations. Before each contestant performed, a member from each organization — Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA), the Asian American Psychological Assn., Change Your Algorithm, Pacific Asian Counseling Services, Yellow Chair Collective, Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC) and Little Tokyo Service Center — was invited to share the mental health resources they provide for the community:

SIPA, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, offers free short-term counseling and support groups for folks in and around Historic Filipinotown, said Eddy Gana, SIPA’s clinical program manager for mental health.

In addition to support groups for grief, abuse and those who identify as genderqueer and non-binary, SIPA recently added “Stop the Hate” short-term counseling services for those who have experienced an incident of anti-Asian violence. SIPA also hosts monthly Mag-Usap Mondays sessions and gives presentations on depression, anxiety, trauma, systematic oppression and cultural values.

(Fun fact: SIPA used to host karaoke competitions between mental health nonprofits, including a SIPA-KYCC [Koreatown Youth and Community Center] Sing-Off in 2013.)

The Asian American Psychological Assn. hosts a directory of therapists around the country for those seeking culturally-informed treatment for the AAPI community.

“Use your insurance,” said Christine Catipon, the group’s vice president. “And Google the heck out of [any potential therapist] because they will all have some sort of profile or website that will tell you a little bit more about their approach.”

Catipon has hosted several karaoke events for the Asian American Psychological Assn. as a form of self-care. She worked as a karaoke DJ before she became a psychologist.

Change Your Algorithm, founded by Joel Relampagos, is a free mental health support program that offers classes taught by volunteer therapists from around the world.

Pacific Asian Counseling Services is one of the few community mental health agencies providing direct services for Asian Pacific Islanders in Van Nuys, Westchester and Long Beach,” executive director Myron Quan said. “We serve low-income Angelenos through direct mental health services, as well as other social services support.”

Yellow Chair Collective, a psychotherapist group, started during the pandemic because there was an overflow of inquiries coming in from Asian Americans looking to discuss and process trauma and racism, said co-director Soo Jin. The collective takes Cigna and Aetna insurance and provides support groups that take neurodiversity into consideration. For example, they have a group specifically for Asian Americans who have ADHD.

Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC) treats youth up to age 25, and the organization is contracted with the county, so their clinicians take Medi-Cal and accept patients with no insurance, said clinical services manager Grace Park.

Little Tokyo Service Center’s Changing Tides program is a youth-led organization that began in 2018, said program coordinator Matthew Yonemura. One of the services they provide is CT Stream, which offers six to 10 free therapy sessions for AAPI youth and young adults from age 16 to 25. Changing Tides also recently hosted a suicide prevention walk.

“The AAPI community has been hurting for the last few years, and it’s time for us to all come together,” Yonemura said.