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The “Let’s Talk!” Conference: A Culture-Specific Community Intervention for Asian and Asian American Student Mental Health


Asian and Asian American students face culture-specific mental health risk factors, and the current study aims to examine whether a culture-specific community intervention in the form of a conference is an effective modality for psychoeducation in the Asian American community. Participants were assessed for reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior intentions related to mental health after attending the conference. A total of 118 conference participants filled out the survey. Participants reported changes in knowledge regarding mental health issues, generational differences, and the effects of culture. Participants also reported having a more open attitude towards mental health, having greater acceptance of mental health issues in themselves and others, and realizing that mental health issues are a community issue. Lastly, participants reported changes in behavior intentions such as communicating more with friends and family, engaging in perspective-taking, participating in advocacy and activism on mental health issues, and taking care of themselves and others.

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Correspondence to Josephine M. Kim.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This research study assessed surveys for the purpose of evaluating the Let’s Talk! Conference and does not make a general claim about the Asian and Asian American population. The Harvard University Area Institutional Review Board has determined that no ethical approval is required.

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Appendix 1

Breakout Session 1: Supporting Your Child’s Mental Health through High School and College

This session focused on the role parents play in their child’s emotional support network. It gave concrete tools to help parents initiate healthy conversations with their child, identify risk factors for depression, and learn about resources that are available for their children on college campuses.

Breakout Session 2: Exploring the Unexpected Gift of Vulnerability: Preparing Students to Run the Education Marathon from High School to College (and Beyond)

This session provided insights and skills that high school students and their families can apply in their lives in order to cope with unique challenges that students may face in college. It focused primarily on the role of vulnerability in gaining self-confidence and building trusting relationships with others. Parents were also given culturally sensitive strategies that help their children thrive in a high-pressured educational environment.

Breakout Session 3: Raising Successful and Happy South Asian Kids in America

This session was about the specific challenges South Asian parents and children face when determining the child’s future because of the template that parents bring from their country of origin and force on their children. Parents of high school students were provided with strategies that help navigate the cultural differences between parents and children.

Breakout Session 4: Navigating Education and Career Choices for Parents and Students

This session targeted parents and college students who were interested in finding the right balance between interests, values, and practical considerations when it came to exploring different career options. It provided practical ways for parents and children to communicate with each other as well as skills and resources that support students and their families in their career development.

Breakout Session 5: Queering Asian Mental Health

This session featured a panel of LGBTQ Asians, from high school students to professionals and explored the intersection between LGBTQ and Asian/Asian American. After the panel speakers shared their stories, there was a Q&A session followed by interactive activities that helped participants gain strategies in supporting LGBTQ Asians.

Breakout Session 6: Children of Refugees: Four Decades After Vietnam

This session focused on the diverse experiences of the descent of Vietnamese Americans. It explored issues such as the influence on children with parents as refugees. Issues such as the challenges of acculturation and assimilation, intergenerational trauma, mental health, familial relationships and identities that face Vietnamese Americans were shared.

Breakout Session 7: Empowerment Through Hip Hop: Using Hip Hop and the Arts to Dismantle Racism and Express Our Voices

This interactive session allowed students and educators to express and empower themselves through hip hop and the arts. The session allowed participants to learn how Asian and Asian American rap artists and college students expressed their voices and dismantled racism through hip hop. Participants also got the opportunity to engage in a writing activity to express themselves.

Breakout Session 8: Church Leaders as Shepherds: Nurturing Korean American Students’ Holistic Health

This session was intended for church leaders working with Asian and Asian American youth or college students. It focused on theoretical and practical ways church leaders could act as counselors to foster emotional as well as spiritual well-being of Asian students.

Breakout Session 9: Mindfulness and Stress Management for Chinese International Students

This session offered stress management techniques of mindfulness as well as mental health resources to international college and graduate students from China. Through experiential activities and a time of sharing, participants were able to discuss specific concerns and coping strategies regarding mental health.

Breakout Session 10: Lost in Translation: How to Better Understand Your Bicultural Child

This session was offered to monocultural parents and provided insights on the identity development of bicultural Asian American children. It provided a theoretical framework and practical guidelines on how to improve parent–child communication.

Breakout Session 11: Asian American Student Mental Health: What Do We Know?

This session consisted of a panel of clinicians and researchers with expertise in Asian American and cross-cultural mental health. The panelists provided information on psychological issues among Asian American students and engaged the attendants through interactive discussions.

Appendix 2

Please take a moment to fill out our survey. Your anonymous feedback will help us to improve future conferences.

1. I am a… (choose one)

a. Student b. Parent c. Professional d. Other: _______

2. What is your age?


3. What is your ethnicity?


4. How do you identify yourself?

a. Man b. Woman c. Gender non-conforming


d. _________ e. Prefer not to answer

5. What is your religious affiliation, if any?


6. What is your generational status?

a. 1st generation (I immigrated to the U.S. after the age of 18.)


b. 1.5 generation (I immigrated to the U.S. before the age of 18.)


c. 2nd generation (My parents immigrated to the U.S., and I was born here.)


d. I am an international


e. Other: ___________________

Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with each statement.


Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Somewhat disagree

Strongly disagree

I found the conference to be culturally relevant to Asian and Asian Americans


I found this conference to be useful to me


I would recommend this conference to a friend


As a result of the conference…


I gained knowledge about mental health and wellness issues in the Asian and Asian American community


I am more willing to talk to others about my mental health issues


I learned how to better communicate with others about mental health issues


Please answer the following questions with as much detail as possible.

What did you like about the conference? Why?

As a result of the conference, what will you do differently?

How has the conference changed your attitude about mental health and wellness issues, if at all?

What could make the Let’s Talk! Conference better?

What other feedback would you like to share?

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Kim, J.M., Kim, S.J., Hsi, J.H. et al. The “Let’s Talk!” Conference: A Culture-Specific Community Intervention for Asian and Asian American Student Mental Health. Community Ment Health J 57, 1001–1009 (2021).

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  • Asian american
  • Mental health
  • Community intervention
  • Conference
  • Culture