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Love, Me

How Filipina Immigrant Kim Saira Found Her Queer Asian Joy

How Filipina Immigrant Kim Saira Found Her Queer Asian Joy

Saira recalls suppressing her emotions and feeling not "American enough," and tells how therapy helped her deal with those issues.

Kim Saira, a queer Filipina immigrant, has made it her mission to raise awareness of mental health issues and how helpful therapy can be.

"I would suppress so much of my emotions because I didn't know how to communicate them effectively to other people, and I was lost because I didn't feel like I was American enough, so that's when I knew that I needed to go to therapy," Saira says in a video for The Advocate's Love, Me series

Saira grew up in a Catholic household where, whenever she was feeling emotionally troubled, she was encouraged to pray. "Maybe this helps others, but it definitely didn't help me, and I knew I needed professional help," she wrote recently on Instagram, where she uses her presence to address mental health issues and anything that relates to the Asian American-Pacific Islander community.

Because of the stigma around mental health in her home, Saira didn't get support from her family and waited until she was 20 to seek professional treatment. But she is happy that she finally did so, and she urges others to access therapy as well.

Going through therapy has helped her realize "I'm actually extremely lucky and proud to be who I am today," she explains in the video.

Love, Me is The Advocate's editorial, video, and social media campaign aimed at raising awareness around mental health. According to research from the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, LGBTQ+ adults are three times more likely than straight adults to experience a mental health disorder. In fact, 40 percent of LGBTQ+ adults reported having a mental illness in the last year versus 18 percent of straight adults.

Discover previous entries of Love, Me such as singer Mary Lambert, Leisure Lab designer and founder Daniel Henson, Canadian musician Dizz, and former basketball star and life coach DeMarco Majors, and how they speak on navigating their mental health journeys and overcoming their experiences.

If you have or are contemplating suicide, please know there is a well of support out there to help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities. If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, the Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger). Trained counselors at the Trevor Project Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at (866) 488-7386, by texting START to 678678, or via the TrevorChat instant messaging service at TheTrevorProject.org/Help.

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