Age: 25

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Generation: 4th - Yonsei

Biography: Justen Quan grew up in Elk Grove, California and moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to attend UCLA. He currently works as a Civil Engineer at a private consulting firm in Orange County, where he focuses on storm water management and water quality engineering. In his spare time, Justen enjoys hanging out at the beach, spending time with family and friends, spending way too much money on boba, and exploring new places.

Name of Piece: What Silences You?

In this photo series, participants were asked the following question: “In one word or phrase, what silences you from speaking about mental health?” The objective was to highlight factors that prevent, inhibit, or discourage people from discussing mental health. Showcasing the things that “silence” us also sheds light on what we as a community can work on to allow people to speak more freely and openly about mental health—in a sense, ending the silence. My hope is that people who view this photo series will also reflect on what silences them, and what they can do to end this silence. Participants were predominantly of Japanese American/Asian American descent but were not limited to this demographic. Sample size spans 4 generations of Asian Americans and ranges in occupations from licensed therapists to students to young professionals to retirees and everyone in-between.

Name of Piece: Nurturing Mental Health

A lot of emphasis is placed on the well-being of our physical health when often our mental health is ignored or undervalued. In reality, physical health and mental health are symbiotic; nurturing our mental health can, in turn, lead to better physical health and vice versa. When we water the seed, it produces something beautiful like a flower. Likewise, this flower reflects the health of the seed, even though it’s below ground and not always visible. If we begin to view our physical and mental health as co-dependent, we can more appropriately address the many mental health issues we encounter today.