Savitha S. 2023 | BASIS Independent Silicon Valley
- Project Title: Legacies of Inter-Ethnic Tensions and Colonization on the Mental Health of South Asian Youth
- Basis Independent Advisor: Tanu Srivastava
- Internship Location: San Jose State University
- Onsite Mentor: Dr. Trung Nguyen
South Asians have generally avoided discussions about mental health, resulting in serious detriments as time goes on when unresolved stressors accumulate. However, among other factors, historic South Asian conflicts like British colonization also affect youth mental health. The Bay Area, the region of focus of this project, is especially unique because of the large South Asian demographic. As such, the purpose of my project is to understand how South Asian history and the retellings of past events, from the internet or family, impact the mental health of South Asian American youth from the Bay Area. To do this, under the guidance of Dr. Trung Ngyugen, who is the assistant professor of Ethnic Studies at SJSU, I am conducting and analyzing interviews of South Asian youth to better understand how influential ethnic history is on current youth mental health. Additionally, I am incorporating the sociological technique of “haunting,” which is the process in which both the manifestations of history in everyday life and the missing pieces of the past are equally studied to gain a larger perspective of the human experience. Ultimately, the project will help policymakers and medical professionals make more informed decisions to better battle social stigmas and stereotypes often placed on South Asians. With this, public resources can be made more culturally sensitive to South Asian history and South Asian American experiences, through more staff trainings, better-informed institutional policies, and more.