May is an incredibly significant month as we come together to celebrate both Asian-Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. Both observances hold immense importance in fostering understanding, empathy, and support within our communities. As proud mothers and co-captains of the BMC API Employee Resource Group (ERG), we are personally invested in raising awareness about the unique experiences of the API community and the vital role mental health plays in our lives. In this blog post, we want to focus on microaggressions, their impact on mental health, and how we can all contribute to fostering a more inclusive work environment.
Microaggressions are subtle, often unintentional, statements or actions that convey stereotypes or prejudices towards a particular group. Microaggressions can take many forms—from assuming someone’s proficiency in various subjects based on their race to making inappropriate comments about their language or accent. These everyday encounters may seem harmless in the moment but can cause significant harm to a person’s mental well-being over time.
A Public Health study showed that experiencing microaggressions can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and depression in API women. As we navigate our way through the unique challenges of balancing work, family, and cultural expectations, these additional stressors can take a toll on our overall mental health. This May, it’s crucial that we recognize the importance of addressing microaggressions and creating a supportive environment for all employees, regardless of their background. We’ve shared some guidance on proactive steps you can take to eliminate bias here.
To combat microaggressions and foster a more inclusive workplace, BMC has implemented proactive initiatives that include mandatory unconscious bias training; free access to CulturePop, a self-paced, micro-learning app that encourages cross-cultural curiosity; an ongoing Diversity Speaker Series for our employees; and supporting our API ERG to actively promote diversity and inclusion. By actively participating in these programs, we can all contribute to a more equitable and supportive work environment.
In addition to our internal efforts, it’s essential to partner with API organizations and mental health resources on a global level to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by API individuals. Some notable organizations include Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), and the Asian Mental Health Collective. Learn more about API cultures and traditions through the Asian Art Museum Virtual Tour and a curated collection of Asian recipes.
As we celebrate API Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s commit to recognizing and addressing microaggressions in the workplace through our collective efforts. By engaging and partnering with global API organizations and mental health resources, we can empower our community and ensure that our mental well-being is prioritized. Together, we can make a difference—one conversation at a time.