Asian American youth use art to raise awareness about mental health challenges

Submissions included various forms of art like essays, paintings and videos of students singing and dancing.

Ashley Mackey Image
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Asian American youth raise awareness about mental health
Submissions included various forms of art like essays, paintings and videos of students singing and dancing.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- More than 300 students from more than 35 states submitted essays and various forms of artwork for the second annual Bring the Noise scholarship contest and exhibition. This year's focus was all about mental health and students submitted work that explored how they, as Asian American teens, can establish healthy self-journeys.

"To be able to say, 'I'm going to take off my mask and show my true self unapologetically,' is something that I'm just very proud that this generation of young people are able to do," said Tommy Chang, one of judges of the contest. "Something that I know growing up in America in the 80s and 90s I didn't have that instinct."

Submissions included essays, artwork and videos of students singing and dancing. Out of all of the submissions, 10 students were awarded a cash prize scholarship, totaling $10,000 given to the winners. Students said they hope their art can have an impact.

"I know that there is a bunch of stigma around Asian American mental health," said Taylor Nicholoff, one of the gold winners of the contest. "It is a very difficult subject and a lot of traditional parents are very against it and I just hope that there comes some understanding and some empathy for yourself and being able to hold forgiveness for yourself."

"I think it gives a lot more awareness of individual stories," said Grace Sowon Park, the grand winner of the contest. "And for me, I think it's really important to know everyone's stories and their backgrounds because you don't know what they've been through or you can learn their new cultures and different aspects about them."

The event also included a panel discussion featuring a mental health expert, parents and youth. Panelist Serena Ling Minikes said she hopes people walk away with the knowledge that they're not alone.

"I think knowing that you're not alone is a huge piece of it," Minikes said. "They'll learn some tools, some really basic easy things to see their children as people, people that they love and care about and have those tools and hope that it'll get better."

The exhibit is free and will be open to the public at the Billie Jean King Library in Long Beach until the end of August.

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