This piece is first and foremost dedicated to Anna’s self-resilience and bravery as well as her friend Jilleen who helped “to rewrite the narrative Anna [I] was spinning about my depression and mental health.”
Breakthrough seeks to share and uplift the works and experiences of BIPOC young adults navigating through all aspects of life. In celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month, Anna Nguyen presents her comic The Depression Came seeking to “normalize talking about mental health challenges openly”.
The American Psychiatric Association notes that BIPOC adults generally have a harder time locating and receiving mental health services, having found that 48% of whites received mental health services, compared with 31% of Blacks and Hispanics, and 22% of Asians in 2015. While there are multitude of boundaries, the comic arose out of one of the more common ones – being in between therapists/providers because of restrictions with health insurance during the pandemic. Anna found the constant process of disclosing deeply vulnerable information to therapist that were not a good match more harmful than healing. Rather than viewing this as a setback, she utilized this as an opportunity to rely on her unique strengths as an artist and social worker.
Anna found the creation of this work to be a cathartic experience during a recent recess from her Master in Social Welfare Program. Her clinical training in mental health and her personal experience of how isolating mental health challenges can be, allowed her to create a work that inspires empathy and compassion.
She says, “Every time I have experienced depression it has been an internal alarm telling me that I need to rest, change, or stop and essentially reinvent myself in some way. I experience a rebirth every time depression visits me.” As a result, Anna successfully translated her frame of mind into a visual guide that allows others to embrace a nonlinear journey to healing.
Download “The Depression Came” by Anna Nguyen here
This piece is part of Breakthrough’s program By & For; An initiative to amplify the lived experiences of creative girls and gender non-conforming youth of color in authentic, nuanced, and respectful ways, and provide them with platforms to share their own creative work, on their own terms. Support By & For here.