The National Asian American Pacific Islander Empowerment Network (NAAPIEN) brings together Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) who have lived experience with mental health issues, either as individuals or as impacted friends or family. We work to support each other in a world that marginalizes AANHPIs and those of us with mental health challenges. We share our unique experiences, knowledge, and perspectives to inform mental health awareness, practices, and policy. We aim to tear down stigma and stereotypes, and to work toward liberation within our communities and beyond.
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Sriya Bhattacharyya, PhD
Dr. Sriya Bhattacharyya, Diversity Director and Instructor of Clinical Medical Psychology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, is a psychologist working at the intersection of social transformation + creative healing. With a background in community development and healing arts, she teaches, hosts retreats, designs programs, researches, and provides individual services to dismantle systems of oppression, uplift community voices, and liberate all beings. She works extensively with racially and socially marginalized groups.
Dr. Bhattacharyya completed her PhD and MA in Counseling Psychology at Boston College. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Montefiore Medical Center and her post-doctoral fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Harvard Medical School. She holds certificates in Human Rights and International Justice, Apprenticeship in College Teaching, Traumatic Stress Studies, and is a 200-hr certified yoga instructor.
With 10 years of experience internationally in the field of community development and healing, Dr. Bhattacharyya is active in research, teaching, and social mobilization. Recent research focuses on Muslim activists’ liberation, asylum advocates experiences, Asian American mental health and mobilization, art-based methods, and frontline worker emotional support during COVID-19.
Dr. Bhattacharyya has been featured in The Boston Globe, NPR, Al Jazeera, and The New York Times and has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including Outstanding First Year Course Award from Columbia University students, Excellence in Campus Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association, a Brookline Community Foundation Spotlight Grant Award, Diversity Fellowship from Boston College, and an Orbis Institute International Teaching Fellowship. She is deeply guided by anti-oppression, community collaboration, creative healing, and social liberation in all of her work.
Emily Chen (she/her) 陳怡君 is a Taiwanese American mental health activist, writer, and singer based in Newton, Massachusetts. She is also a speech-language pathology Master’s student at Emerson College. Emily is the creator of DisOrient, an educational YouTube video series on Asian American mental health, neurodiversity, and representation. She also helps organize Asian Women for Health’s annual Asian American Mental Health Forum, and has written articles for Project Harmonious and ADDitude Magazine. Emily is dedicated to helping individuals and communities find their full, authentic voices, and finds joy in singing classical art song and hanging out with her dog Odie.
Heidi HyunJin Lee
Heidi HyunJin Lee, BFA, MEd, CPS, is an artist, teacher, mental health advocate, certified peer specialist (CPS), and mother of a spirited 7-year-old boy who knows all the lyrics to Frozen, Moana, and Sing 1 & 2. Heidi is currently a CPS for Eliot Community Human Service, a visual arts teacher, and a Master's candidate in public policy with a concentration in healthcare management at Northeastern University. Heidi taught high school art for over a decade, then was Art Director at Common Art, where she guided adult artists experiencing homelessless. She then did case management for Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program near Mass and Cass. Heidi's goal is to help people who experience homelessness, SUD (Substance Use Disorder), and mental health conditions reclaim their dignity. Heidi loves connecting with others over homemade Korean four-course meals and ridiculously strong java. She also studies Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is convinced that everyone can benefit from tree therapy (the Arnold Arboretum is her hit of choice).
Pata Suyemoto, PhD
Dr. Pata Suyemoto is a feminist scholar, writer, educator, curriculum developer, equity trainer, mental health activist, jewelry designer, and avid bicyclist. She earned her PhD. from the University of Pennsylvania and did her research on anti-racist education and issues of race and racism. She is the Training Director for the National Asian American Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA). Pata is a master trainer for NAAPIMA’s Achieving Whole Health Program and the director of the National Asian American Pacific Islander Empowerment Network, which is a network of AAPIs with lived-experience related to mental health concerns. She is the Equity Coordinator for the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (MCSP). She is the co-chair of the Greater Boston Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition and the founder and co-chair of the MCSP Alliance for Equity. Pata is one of the authors of Widening the Lens: Exploring the Role of Social Justice in Suicide Prevention – A Racial Equity Toolkit. She has spoken and written about being a suicide attempt survivor and her struggles with chronic depression and PTSD. She is a co-founder of The Breaking Silences Project, which is an artistic endeavor that educates about the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American young women. Pata is the diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant for the American Association of Suicidology and also member of a number of boards and committees including the MCSP’s Executive Committee, the planning committee for the annual Asian American Mental Health Forum, and the board of directors for the American Association of Suicidology. Her claim to fame is that she rode her bicycle across the country in the summer of 2012.
Emily Wu Truong
Emily Wu Truong is an award-winning mental health advocate, nationally-recognized motivational speaker, catalytic thought leader, community educator, playwright and published author. For over a decade, Emily has worked tirelessly to create more compassionate & accepting communities by bringing mental health education wherever she goes. As a speaker, Emily utilizes her story from depression to self-actualization, inspiring others to find meaning in life struggles. She has spoken to a variety of audiences, including students from elementary school to graduate school students, school administrators, teachers, families, law enforcement, faith-based communities, medical and mental health professionals and many more. Over the years, in recognition of Emily’s efforts to raise awareness on mental health and emotional resilience, she has been featured in the California Mental Health Movement “Each Mind Matters,” Good Morning America, NBC Asian America, LA 18 and World Journal (世界日報). Emily has also been honored with the “2015 Woman of Achievement Award” by former Senator Ed Hernandez. Also in 2015, Emily was honored with the Youth and Young Adult Leadership Award at the 29th Annual National Alternatives Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2017, the Los Angeles County Supervisors honored Emily's request to establish May 10th as "Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day." In 2018, former Assemblyman Ed Chau honored Emily with the 2018 Make A Difference Award. Emily has become a role model for many, sharing her life lessons and delivering her message that helplessness is not hopelessness and that with help, there is hope.