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How Filipina Immigrant Kim Saira Found Her Queer Asian Joy

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www.advocate.com

Kim Saira, a queer Filipina immigrant, has made it her mission to raise awareness of mental health issues and how helpful therapy can be.“I would suppress so much of my emotions because I didn’t know how to communicate them effectively to other people, and I was lost because I didn’t feel like I was American enough, so that’s when I knew that I needed to go to therapy,” Saira says in a video for The Advocate’s Love, Me seriesSaira grew up in a Catholic household where, whenever she was feeling emotionally troubled, she was encouraged to pray. “Maybe this helps others, but it definitely didn’t help me, and I knew I needed professional help,” she wrote recently on Instagram, where she uses her presence to address mental health issues and anything that relates to the Asian American-Pacific Islander community.Because of the stigma around mental health in her home, Saira didn’t get support from her family and waited until she was 20 to seek professional treatment.

But she is happy that she finally did so, and she urges others to access therapy as well.Going through therapy has helped her realize “I’m actually extremely lucky and proud to be who I am today,” she explains in the video.Love, Me is The Advocate’s editorial, video, and social media campaign aimed at raising awareness around mental health.

According to research from the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, LGBTQ+ adults are three times more likely than straight adults to experience a mental health disorder.

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