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Food + Fuzz

The topic of mental health has always been a pressing issue, especially within minority groups. Prior to the pandemic, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders faced nearly 4,000 hate incidents, such as verbal harassment, insults, jokes, and violent attacks. Early research has linked the uptick in anti-Asian discrimination to increases in anxiety, depressive symptoms, and sleep problems among those who are targeted. Asian Americans are the least likely to seek help when it comes to addressing their mental health due to the cultural bias against it and lack of culturally relevant approaches to treatment.

To address the need for a more unconventional approach to addressing mental health, the clinic I am proposing will utilize culinary therapy. Culinary therapy uses arts, cooking, gastronomy, and an individual’s personal, cultural, and familial relationships with food to address emotional and psychological problems. This “nontraditional” approach to addressing mental health creates an opportunity for intergenerational support through recipe sharing, a medicinal garden, cooking, and eating as the link between different groups and cultures to express AAPI heritage and pride. In addition to the mental health clinic, there will be housing provided for nurses above.