Health & Mental Health

It can be argued that health and mental health is reflected throughout all the galleries.   Isolation can lead to depression and connection to joy. Racism and intolerance can cause fear, anger or anxiety. Service to others can be emotionally beneficial to both the recipient and the giver, and making change can give us resilience and hope. The images in this gallery, however, most directly reflect the health and mental health impact of coronavirus. There is the front page story of the husband being released from the hospital after surviving COVID-19. Others show going for a walk - for some it was relaxing, for others it created anxiety by being around others on a trail. There were also images that talked about insufferable anxiety and depression that was exacerbated by the coronavirus or feeling sad they could not be with family. 

Title of Photo: Spent

Name: R

Ethnicity: Japanese

Age: 38

Date Image Was Captured: 5/31/20

Time Image Was Captured: 6:36:00 AM

Location Image was Captured: West Seattle    

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
A monochrome photo of an Asian woman with her head propped up on a cushion. She is wearing glasses and is staring into the distance with a vacant expression. She looks exhausted.

What does this image mean to you? 
The effects of owning a small business considered essential during the time of COVID-19: operating on 50% of pre-outbreak sales on a good day, trying to keep 14 carefully-hired people employed, navigating to get financial assistance and adhere to new requirements with little to no guidance, dashed dreams after being on track for months of having solid financial standing in order to grow the business, being scrutinized over safety precautions towards the public while simultaneously being put at higher risk by them, fighting with every other business in the industry for supplies needed to operate, facing the likelihood of not being able to open up business further until phase 4 due to logistics and physical space limitations, the West Seattle bridge closure furthering isolation and doubling the commute, a racist hate crime committed against a neighboring, similar business a block away, a peaceful protest against police brutality devolving into a riot involving police brutality, the emergency curfew to mitigate it with far too little notice, and working far too much while having countless sleepless nights, like last night.

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? Hold law enforcement accountable for their actions, clearer guidance from officials about how to do things, extension of unemployment so my employees can survive, consistent access to testing, EVERYONE to adhere to recommendations based on science, and a president who speaks with class, eloquence, and complete sentences.

Title of Photo: I'm Back from the Dead

Name: Elisa Del Rosario    

Ethnicity: Filipino    

Age: 59    

Date Image Was Captured: 5/5/20

Time Image Was Captured: 11:00:00 AM

Location Image was Captured: Swedish Hospital Issaquah, WA

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? The Seattle Times caption of the photo taken by staff photographer, Ken Lambert, summarizes it well: "Michael Flor takes in the applause from staff at Swedish Issaquah on Tuesday as he's wheeled out by Dr. Anne Lipke. On March 4, Flor went to the hospital for a bad cough; he tested positive for coronavirus. Things were so dire at one point, his family was advised to say their goodbyes."

 

What does this image mean to you? This photo of the front page of the Seattle Times Wednesday, May 6, 2020 edition is of my husband, Michael Flor, applauded by hospital staff when he was discharged from the Swedish Hospital ICU after battling COVID 19 and its complications for two months. The image captures the celebration of a miraculous survival, but also acknowledges the dedication of medical providers who worked tirelessly and compassionately to save his life.  For that, I, our kids, and an entire community will be forever grateful!    

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
This experience has given our family, especially Michael, a second chance at renewing relationships with each other, with our friends, with our community.  It has taught us to have greater patience with things beyond our control, to be grateful for what we have and not take things and people in our lives for granted.

*Note from participant: "I need to acknowledge the Seattle Times columnist, Danny Westneat, for capturing the essence of Michael's COVID journey.  After he was released from Swedish Hospital, he had two weeks of physical and occupational therapy at a skilled nursing facility before finally coming home on May 20.  After being intubated for 28 days, his muscles had atrophied to the point he had to relearn how to breathe on his own, sit up, walk, swallow, etc.  He is determined to get better. Now, after nearly two weeks of home health care, he can now walk more than a mile and has started to cook again, a passionate avocation."

Title of Photo: Do you Need a Mask, Sir

Name: Jasmine Chan    

Ethnicity: Chinese    

Age: 32    

Date Image Was Captured: 5/25/20

Time Image Was Captured: 9:20:00 AM    

Location Image was Captured: Portuguese Bend Reserve    

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
A deserted trail in the mountains with a bright blue sky.

What does this image mean to you? 
A moment in time that was meant to be peaceful and calming turned out to be far more stressful than expected. Going outside for a hike in the time of COVID while trying to maintain social distancing on a crowded trail and trying to exercise with a mask on ended up being more anxiety inducing than had we just stayed home.    

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
Getting into the mindset that protective behaviors and equipment aren’t about protecting yourself, it’s a societal responsibility to protect others.

Title of Photo: A Self-portrait of Isolation during COVID-19

Name: Linghua Qi    

Ethnicity: Chinese        

Date Image Was Captured: 5/21/20    

Time Image Was Captured: 7:20:00 AM

Location Image was Captured: My apartment in Chicago    

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
This is a black-and-white photo taken from early morning in my apartment in Chicago and you can see me (a young Chinese lady with short hair) on the left bottom of the picture sitting on the bed holding a stuffed animal and buried my face in it. You can't actually see my face and it seemed like I just woke up and my hair was still messy. I looked desperate and lonely with the lights from the window casting shadows on the wall behind me. A side table beside the bed was full of all kinds of stuff: glass, body lotion, sleep-aid pills, and hair bands.

What does this image mean to you? 
Almost two years ago, I came to the US to pursue my Master’s education in journalism. After graduation, I decided to stay here working as a freelancer in documentary and photography. Since March 12, 2020, I’ve been self-quarantining in my apartment in Chicago for over two months. 

The feeling of being alone is very strange during this time. When your life is 24/7 inside a confined space, the quietness of living alone suddenly became insufferable. I’ve long suffered from depression and anxiety associated with my life in a foreign country and tried hard to maintain a balance with the help of friends, family and my therapist. All of a sudden, the pandemic and stay-at-home order destroyed my coping mechanism for pressure and loneliness. The lack of human interactions and being far away from my home country led to multiple serious mental breakdowns. For a while, I lost the motivation for everything: work, socializing, and even performing some daily activities like cooking and cleaning.

With encouragement from my friends and therapist, I decided to use my camera to document this strange time and its impact on my life. It’s not only a way to present how a global pandemic affects me individually but also to show how it could potentially hit many people like me who live in isolation and suffer from mental issues. Inspired by Chantal Akerman’s black-and-white films in the 1960s, this photo is a portrait of the most helpless moment in my life during COVID-19. 

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
I hope everyone who sees the image or not starts reaching out to old friends and families, especially those who are not around and live by themselves, to see how are they doing. The depression and isolation that came with the quarantine often are caused by the lack of human interactions. If you live nearby, maybe drop by and take a walk with them in the neighborhood. Even if you can’t be there in person with them, checking in with them more or simply just sending some nice words would lighten up their days a little bit. I’m also hoping to see more people take mental health during this particular time serious because it not only a matter of our well-being but also people that we love and care about may be suffering from mental issues right this moment and they need help. 

For those who share the same experience as me, I hope they can also reach out to those who they trust when they’re having those dark moments. I can never make it without friends and families who are absolutely supportive and caring. Professional support from therapists and social workers is also essential and resources should be allocated to help those who can’t afford sessions and I wish we can all make it through till the end of the tunnel.

Title of Photo: Going for a Walk

Name: Richard Ida    

Ethnicity: Japanese American        

Date Image Was Captured: 5/30/20    

Time Image Was Captured 10:30:00 AM    

Location Image was Captured: Washington Park     

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
This is a picture of me wearing a mask, stopping to look for the fish swimming in the small lake at the park.  The blue sky and clouds are reflected in the water which also has beautiful patches of green moss floating on top.      

What does this image mean to you? 
Being older and part of a "vulnerable" population makes me very conscious of taking care of my health.  Sitting at home is safe but hard to do without getting a little stir crazy.  Luckily we live just a couple of blocks from Washington Park which is one of the best parks in Denver. One loop around is about 2 1/2 miles so I can get my exercise in while looking for the baby ducks and fish. I always wear a mask but if no one is nearby it feels good to take the mask off and get a breath of fresh air.  I feel very fortunate that I get to do this on a regular basis.    

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image?
I wish everyone would take this seriously and take precautions to be safe.  Being older, I am aware that I am vulnerable and it is frustrating to know that others who do not believe the medical experts are doing things that may place my health at risk. 

Title of Photo: Eight Elements of Chinese Energy

Name: Mark Lee Pringle    

Ethnicity: Chinese-Scottish American ABC    

Age: 65    

Date Image Was Captured: 5/25/20    

Time Image Was Captured: 3:03:00 PM    

Location Image was Captured: Voinovich Bicentennial Park, the pier Cleveland, Ohio    

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired? 
I'm holding a Chinese kung-fu posture in the bright sunlight near the Lake Erie shore, standing on one leg , training for balance, both in physical discipline and in spiritual growth. In one hand is an opened Chinese umbrella, bright yellow with the 'Eight tri-grams of Baat-Gwa' surrounding the yin & yang double-fish symbol, which in and of itself represents balance of all things. Relaxed and centered.    

 

What does this image mean to you? Being able to connect to, teach, and perform my Chinese cultural heritage is an honor! To express my inner-self to influence others in a positive, educational, & health-giving way is a cherished life experience!    

 

Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image? 
The hope that more people would exercise both their bodies and their minds. It really does give an overall Mind-Body experience that is life-changing! The human race is in DEF' need of balance right now.

Title of Photo: Coffee Break at the Promenade

Name: Gabriel Pancrudo

Ethnicity: Filipino    

Age: 57    

Date Image was Captured: 5/31/20    

Time Image was Captured: 5:30:00 PM    

Location Image was Captured: Sugar Hill, Harlem, New York City    

How would you describe your image, to someone who may be visually impaired?
This block is located on top of the hill. The promenade, which is built on the edge of the hill,  is a shaded paved concrete walkway across the street from a row of mid-level to a high rise brick apartment buildings. It's flanked on the left side by a row of tall Norway Maple trees, nestled on landscaped flower beds. On the right side by a single row of wooden benches. This walkway affords an open view of the city including Yankee Stadium. 

What does this image mean to you?
Since the NYC stay at home mandate on March 16th, i've been working from home and my only means of communication with my coworkers has been through zoom meetings and the occasional phone call. That following weekend, my partner and I started to experience flu-like symptoms that lingered for two weeks. He was able to recover from it quicker than I did, meanwhile I was only able to get clearance from my doctor a month after. During these times, I sequestered myself inside my apartment and felt isolated from my family which I used to visit on weekends. I did remain grateful that my partner stayed with me during these times. After my recovery I treated myself to coffee breaks late in the afternoon. The promenade across my building has provided respite to the residents of the block. I will sit on one of these benches, leisurely sipping on my cup of coffee, while watching cars drive by, pedestrians walk by, kids play on the street and dogs go out for their afternoon walks. These moments allow me to quietly meditate, aimlessly allow my mind to wander or ponder on the current political and social challenges besetting this country. This pandemic has been racially politicized by ineffective political leadership and Asians have been used as a scapegoat to blame the spread of this disease. After over 3 decades of residing here in the US, I've never been more conscious of my ethnicity or my own safety because of my race.
    
Based on your COVID-19 experience, what would you like to see changed in your world, that may or may not be related to your image?
We need to build bridges and together learn to understand and celebrate each others differences.

LIFE/COMMUNITY CHANGES
RACISM/
INTOLERANCE
CONNECTION/
ISOLATION
SERVICE TO OTHERS
HEALTH/
MENTALHEALTH
WAYS TO CHANGE THE WORLD

Copyright © 2020 Asians in Focus    |    Privacy Policy   |    Terms and Conditions