Asian American Mental Health Documentaries

Mental health and mental illness are very challenging topics to talk about or discuss, especially among Asians, Asian Americans and Asian Pacific Islanders. Real-life stories portrayed in films and movies can powerfully help people to start those discussions, to address these matters in an indirect way, and towards erasing shame.

Award-winning speaker and advocate Emily Wu Troung compiles this list of film documentaries about Asian Americans and mental health. Posted with permission. Thank you Emily! (show your thanks and like her Facebook page)

Film Documentaries that cover API Mental Health

“Looking for Luke” by Eric I-Hwa Lu & Elaine Coin
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“Unbroken Glass” by Dinesh Sabu
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Watch online @

Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Kristina Wong Website:
Trailer here:
Facebook Page:

“The S Word” by Lisa Klein 
Facebook Page:

Voices: Human & Untold Stories of Psychosis” by Gary Tsai & Hiroshi Hara
Trailer here:
Facebook Page:

Can” by Pearl J. Park 
Trailer here:

The Laundromat” by Vanessa Yee 
Trailer here:
Facebook Page:

“Adultolescence” by Vicky Shen
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The House of Suh” by Iris K. Shim
Facebook Page:
Free viewing on Hulu here:

Children of the Camps” by Dr. Satsuki Ina

The Cats of Mirikitani” by Linda Hattendorf & Masa Yoshikawa

Dialogues with Madwomen” by Allie Light

Who’s Going to Pay for These Donuts, Anyway?” by Janice Tanaka

Raymond’s Portrait” by Donald C. Young

AAPI Mental Health Resources

The following are resources listed at this page of mental health resources for people of color, curated by the American Psychological Association (APA) :

Season 2 Finale of Erasing Shame

On this season 2 finale, DJ Chuang shares highlights from the year of 2018, that is, the first 2 seasons of Erasing Shame, plus the special summer series on Erasing Shame about Mental Health in Asian American Communities. This episode wraps up with a Top 10 Countdown of the most popular episodes that you won’t want to miss.

Quick Links

Season 1 of Erasing Shame

Summer Series: Erasing Shame about Mental Health in Asian American Communities

Season 2 of Erasing Shame

Are your painful feelings becoming a crisis? (s2e10)

Real feelings don’t always tell the truth. Dave Dicken is a Crisis Counselor at Crisis Text Line and he shares a bunch of very practical tips for how to help yourself or someone you know to have courage, find resilience, and get healing.

When the pain is overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be a crisis. There’s no shame in asking for help. It doesn’t require a doctor’s visit or talking on the phone.

Just text. Text HOME to 741741 (in the USA) and know you’re not alone. Tell someone you care about to do this any time they feel the pain is too much to bear and want help. In Canada, text HOME to 686868 for help at your fingertips.

Show Notes

David Dicken email

Youtube channel for Make Someone Great Today


Crisis Text Line

Shame, singleness, and the holidays (s2e09)

Singles already know they’re single. They don’t need pressure or shame, especially around the holidays. DJ Chuang and Maylee Chang Tao talk about this personal and poignant topic that affects like 50% of the adult population.

Why it’s harder for Filipino-Americans to talk about shame (s2e08)

Grace Sangalang Ng is our special guest. Grace is a Ed.D. student (Talbot School of Theology) researching how shame affects Asian Americans in the classroom, so she is more than well qualified to talk intelligibly about shame. She also shares from her own experiences of shame as a second-generation Filipino-American.

DJ Chuang hosts this episode. But, he forgot to ask her about Pinoy.

Show Notes

Connect with Grace Ng on Facebook and Instagram

Also, Grace Sangalang Ng is a contributor at The Two Cities blog.

[Seen 2] Developing Effective Cancer Treatments for Asian Americans

“Asian-Americans haven’t been included in the process of cancer research. Recent clinical trials helping develop new drugs or therapies show that Asian-Americans only represent about 3% of people in those studies. As a result, a lot of the drugs that are currently available for cancer treatments may not be effective within our own populations.”

Eunice Lee Therapy ( talks with Colleen Nguyen (  of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard ( about the silence around the topic of cancer and the gap in creating cancer therapies for Asian-Americans. Colleen is leading community engagement efforts for Count Me In, a new model of cancer research that hopes to reach people where they are. 

Erasing Shame hopes to promote emotional, physical and mental health. Please share this video and information with friends, family and anyone who has been touched with cancer, and feel free to contact Colleen or fill out this form to further cancer research in the Asian-American community.

Home for the holidays, and more? (s2e07)

We give thanks for you, our viewers and listeners, as we enter the holiday season at the end of 2018. Holidays are family and relatives; and those memories can bring mixed emotions, highs and lows, amidst all the food and feasting. Maylee Chang and DJ Chuang talk about what those experiences might be like, especially when shame shows up, and how you can stay healthy and sane to better enjoy the holidays.

[Seen 1] A Conversation about Race, Power and Privilege in the Asian-American Experience

Adrian Pei, author of The Minority Experience, chats with Eunice Lee about race, power, privilege and pain in the minority experience. He discusses his own journey as an Asian-American in navigating large organizations and the injustices of not being heard and feeling “other.”

Adrian talks about the journey that our brothers and sisters of color in paving the way for Asian-American voices to be heard, and the reality that the decisions of diversity are not just a strategic decision, but an emotional one.

Eunice and Adrian dialogue about the realities of the gift and pain of the minority experience, their own stories of pain and solutions for change.

You can find his book at


What if shame happened in a leadership context? (s2e06)

Margaret Yu (National Director of Epic Movement, the Asian American ministry of Cru) talks with DJ Chuang about how leaders can be debilitated by shame and become derailed. Not good. But there’s an antidote to shame that can help the leader to be honest with their humanity, to confess the occasional mistake, and to recover their rational capacity in order to better serve the organization, people, and community.

Show Notes

Connect with Margaret Yu and on Twitter @CCCEPICMargaret
Dr. Kristin Neff (University of Texas at Austin) has posted resources at Take this self-compassion test to see how self compassionate you are.

“… breakthrough research done on self-compassion by researcher and social psychologist Kristin Neff from the University of Texas at Austin. Among other things, Neff discovered that self-compassion can act as an antidote to self-criticism—a major characteristic of those who experience intense shame.” from “How Compassion Can Heal Shame from Childhood: The Antidote to Shame” in Psychology Today, 2013.

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Kristin Neff, PhD (2015)

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown: The link between guilt-proneness and leadership by Rebecca L. Schaumberg, Francis J. Flynn.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. August 2012, 103:2, 327-342.

Why Feelings of Guilt May Signal Leadership Potential (Insights by Stanford Business, 2012) refers to the Schaumberg research above.

Although “guilt” and “shame” may seem quite similar to most people — and both are indeed negative responses to knowing you did something wrong — psychologists recognize a crucial distinction between the two: Whereas someone who feels guilty feels bad about a specific mistake and wants to make amends, a person who’s ashamed of a mistake feels bad about himself or herself and shrinks away from the error.


My Painful and Shameful Day in Atlanta (s2e05)

This one is a personal story of a day in the life of DJ Chuang, who works as a consultant and sometimes travels for work. After landing in Atlanta on an uneventful flight, he gets taken on an unforgettable adventure that started with the rental car.