PMWA will partner with the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American community Friday to host “Breaking our Silence,” an event dedicated to relieving the stigma of mental health in the Asian Community. Credit: Courtesy of PMWA

The Pan Asian Mental Wellness Association will partner with the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American community Friday for a gala focusing on mental health and self expression through the arts.

“Breaking our silence,” PMWA’s final event of the year, aims to bring greater awareness of mental health issues in the Asian community and create a space for artists in the community to express themselves comfortably.

“We are so excited for this event but nervous at the same time because it’s the first time we ever held an event like this and we don’t know how it will go,” said Stephanie Wentzel, co-president of PMWA and a fourth-year in neuroscience.  

In Asian communities, people tend to hide their mental-health struggles out of embarrassment. Wentzel said that in order to overcome the shame behind mental illness that is prevalent in the community, individuals need to speak up and share their stories with each other.

Both Ohio State students and faculty will participate in the event, sharing their struggles with mental illness and telling their stories in the art form of their choice.

Jasper Nomis, a fourth-year in English and Chinese, will be playing cello at the event and will tell his story through a performance of the song “Song of the Birds,” which he described as a sorrowful piece of music.

Nomis said he chose to play it in order to tell others that it’s OK to express negative emotions. After battling with social anxiety as a teenager, he said playing cello was the only thing that he could use to express himself.

“You don’t have to use your words to express yourself,” he said, “Emotion is emotion. I want to let the sound of the cello to express itself”

The mental-health gala will take place at 6 p.m. Friday on the second floor of Curl Market. Refreshments and dinner will be provided. Admission is free.