brown cardboard box with red open in emergency sticker

In Spring 2020, shortly after UCI moved to remote operations due to COVID-19, the Center for Medical Humanities received funding from the Office of Inclusive Excellence for series of programs addresses student mental health and well-being. The pandemic meant even greater need and also an inability to come together.  Yet in the virtual spaces we learned to create through the technology of Zoom, students along with faculty and staff came together to share pain and seek hope. These conversations were recorded and we offer them to our community in the hope that you too will find a space that can be opened in emergency.

During the 202-2021 academic year, the Center for Medical Humanities brought Open In Emergency: A Mental Health Project (OIE), a multi-media kit designed to explore dimensions of Asian American mental health, to the UCI student community. OIE’s focus on artistic and humanistic explorations of mental health can enable students to develop a rich vocabulary and set of exploratory techniques to develop self-awareness of their interior lives made all the more traumatic by the pandemic and its social and economic repercussions. Through a series of curated events led by contributors to OIE, this project brought students together with scholars, artists, writers, and activists, and marshaled these interactions to build the capacity for discerning mental unwellness in the students’ local context.

(Open In Emergency photo credit: Mimi Khúc

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