Filipino nonprofit keeps community stays connected amid pandemic through wellness sessions

LOS ANGELES — On top of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, May is also Mental Health Awareness Month.

While physical meetings are still banned in most states, the Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, or SIPA, is making sure the community can continue to check in on one another, with its Wellness Wednesdays.

“With this series we will talk about and expose the cultural stigma that we may experience when talking about mental health and what that looks like, how we can support one another and or community care looks like,” said Eddy Gana.

From the basics, to physical and emotional, and even holistic practices, they’re hoping the community can find some balance within themselves and bring comfort to each other during this global pandemic.

And for many of the experts, one of the keys to being mentally strong-kindness, whether towards yourself or others.

“You need positive connection with people. It’s harder now with COVID 19, but we have our phone, we have our Facetime, Instagram, Zoom call like this. I really encourage you to utilize that to maintain your emotional well being,” said Andrea Jakucs.

“Just be gentle with yourself. We are all experiencing a collective trauma and grief of what’s happening in the world, what’s happening with our friends and family and that’s underneath all the other stuff that’s at the forefront,” said Dr. Christine Catipon.

Along with its regular small business seminars, and Filipino Fridays, Wellness Wednesday is among several regular virtual meetups held by SIPA that brings hope and guidance in the community, leading to a more positive mental health.

And if you miss a meeting, SIPA keeps recordings on their websites as well as their socials.

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