How do we talk about our Health & Wellbeing as Asian Women?
The Cosmos was born when we imagined a community where naming our fears, uncertainties, anxiety, and doubts was not only supported, but normalized. Along the way, we’ve realized the need for a new vocabulary — one that empowers us to celebrate our livelihood, encourages our right to flourish and thrive on our own terms, and welcomes the reality of being perpetually in progress.
This is what makes The Cosmos’s approach to Health & Wellness different. We’re challenging stigma and creating a new way to talk about stigmatized topics like mental health, anxiety, intergenerational trauma, fertility, and sex and pleasure through The Cosmos Health & Wellness Workshops in San Francisco and New York City. Our workshops are a platform for the diverse perspectives of incredible leaders like the founders of BetterBrave, the co-founder of the popular co-working app Croissant, the co-founder of fertility app Carrot, and the amazing instructors at O.School, just to name a few.
Our workshops are intentionally 101 level because we believe easy access to health information is a human right.
Every Cosmos workshop challenges stigma by offering a supportive space to not only talk, but also amplify our voice on topics that affect our community as well as our friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors.
The Cosmos Health & Wellness Series is an unapologetic call to action to practice wellbeing, on your terms. Health and Wellness impacts all pillars of life, and it is a pre-requisite for achieving one’s fullest potential. We’re self-aware that our perspective will not speak to every Asian identity. That’s why we’ve started our Create With Us program to provide a platform for community members to share their unique skills and story with the community. We need more stories at the table, and we want to hear yours.
Why Health & Wellness? Well…
“Asian-American women suffer alone. They suffer quietly, and they die quietly. And even if they die, nobody makes a fuss about it.”
— Dr. Hyeouk Chris Hahm, Associate Professor of Social Work at Boston University and Founder of AWSHIP (Asian Women’s Health Initiative Project), a five-year study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Asian women are dying as mental health goes untreated. Asian women suffer in silence when stigma, cultural taboo, and pressure to succeed make it challenging to talk openly about mental health, much less ask for the care one needs. Research shows that Asian Americans are 2–5x less likely than white Americans to seek mental health services, and this statistic disproportionately affects our community, young and old.
This is the kind of news that keeps us up at night. But things are looking up. Internet bloggers, activists, and nonprofits are calling out inequities in the healthcare system and advocating for care that considers cultural differences. National media is raising awareness for the work of individual therapists and organizations like Asian Community Mental Health Services.
We need more research and stories of the experiences of different Asian communities, and we need more spaces led by people in our community.
So we got into a room and made a list of every health topic that’s ever felt hard to talk about: sex, orgasms, birth control, intergenerational trauma, egg freezing, mental health, anxiety, stress, imposter syndrome, being invisible, unseen, unheard. We thought about the big elephant in the room: America’s healthcare system is not designed for minorities. What happens when the English language doesn’t offer a vocabulary for immigrants and refugees to express their condition? Communities of Cambodians, Hmong, Laotians, and Bangladeshi Americans, who face higher rates of poverty and less access to health insurance, are met with higher financial barriers to access.
We’ve heard that this type of community is new. And we want to be clear: this is not a sorority. If you’ve been searching for belonging and space to feel celebrated for who you are, hear us: you’re not alone.
And if you’re in any other city, you can join our community and meet the honest, open, supportive women leading this community. It’s not us — it’s every member who’s led a workshop with us (20 by the end of the summer!), every member who’s out there challenging norms and narratives with her hustle, every member who’s asking herself what it means to flourish and thrive, and helping others in her life do the same. The Cosmos is here for you, and because of you.
Special thanks to David Y., Dr. Lisa C., Stephanie K., and Bessie C. who reviewed drafts and helped us put pen to paper!