After such a satisfying outcome, what comes next? (Part V)

What’s up everyone, it’s dǰ pišpiš. In an astonishing twist, Asian Alliance for Mental Health (AAMH; formerly API Cares) announced they are undergoing a major rebranding and organizational transition. This is such a big outcome for the UW Pacific Islander student community that would leave even Seattle Time’s Danny Westneat speechless. AAMH’s reasoning for making the transition is below the jump.

Today’s post isn’t about the merits of AAMH’s reasoning behind the rebrand. Instead, I want to briefly summarize what I said in earlier posts about mental health in the Pacific Islander student community. Some may wonder whether AAMH’s initiative creates a gap in resources that are available for Pacific Islander students to seek mental health support among their peers. Part II of “The Last Stand” discusses that possibility. In it, I propose that AAMH’s rebranding creates opportunities (rather than opportunity gaps) for Pacific Islander students to create mental health resources for their peers. I discuss Research Family, a strong up-and-coming student group that focuses on issues inherently involving health and wellness in Pacific Islander communities. I argued that Pacific Islander student leaders are “ahead of the issue” and have already created spaces for Pacific Islander students to discuss issues that matter to them. AAMH’s rebranding initiative brings the Pacific Islander community closer to making supportive spaces such as Research Family more visible as a resource for students in the community.

I will expand on my analysis by posing questions about next steps. Although the school year begins soon, it’s never early to think about how assets within the Pacific Islander student community can strengthen mental health awareness and support. One possibility would be to bring Research Family under the Pacific Islander Student Commission umbrella. The questions that arise from this possibility are:

  • Is this what Research Family wants? (Wilson 2008)
    • Would partnering with PISC support or hamper the mission and goals of Research Family?
    • What concerns arise from the increased visibility that come from being part of PISC?
  • Can Research Family become part of PISC even though it doesn’t appear to plan on becoming an RSO anytime soon?
    • What supports can PISC provide if Research Family becomes part of PISC?
    • What might PISC ask of Research Family to reciprocate?
  • What opportunities arise for the student community with a PISC x RF partnership?
  • Will partnership increase accessibility of involvement opportunities for Pacific Islanders who are transfer students, student athletes, and/or first generation students?
  • Will partnership likely strengthen partnerships with the Pacific Islander community members and organizations beyond campus?
  • What alternatives are there to a PISC x RF partnership?

Whether Research Family decides to pursue a partnership with PISC is really up for discussion. In any case, it is important to understand that even though there is a lot of work to be done in regards to mental health and wellness, Pacific Islander communities already creating space for mental health awareness and support. Just as the stars and waves guided ancestors on their journeys across the water, the student leaders of today are guided by the strength of their communities. I’m very excited about what comes out of the ingenuity of the community now that AAMH has shifted its community focus. That’s it. See you.

“Matariki i te pō” by Maisey Rika (2020)

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