Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Have You Met Kristina Wong?

So excited to be seeing this show tonight, Wong Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, written and performed by Kristina Sheryl Wong. It's over at Cal State L.A. and it's a free show, first-come, first-serve seating of course at 7 pm.

The one-woman show is a mix of provocative politics and unapologetic humor that explores the high rate of mental illness (i.e. depression and suicide rates) that afflicts Asian American women and that often go undiagnosed. For a number of reasons.

Oh, you didn't know there's a high rate of depression and suicide among that demographic? Asiance Magazine did a pretty extensive article here. So did CNN, article here.

But we know that many communities of color don't always want to acknowledge, respond to, or treat mental illness. Some friends and I were talking about this the other night at dinner. Jenifer Lewis talked about this on Oprah earlier this fall, and in her show Bipolar, Bath, and Beyond, a phonomenal show I got to experience early in 2007.

A number of reasons -- lack of knowledge about treatment options, the stigma of being labeled "crazy," worry about financial costs, not wanting to "shame" or air the dirty laundry of your family or cultural identity category -- can attribute to communities not acknowledging or dealing with suspected mental illness.

I think Kristina Wong's show, which I've seen a small preview of last year, helps to take the sheets off the bed, so to speak, so that communities can deal with the realities of their lives... and get people the help they may need.

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