Contact: Carissa Villacorta
Executive Director / 202-262-0772

For Immediate Release

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to join NaFFAA’S Mental Health Panel this Friday, May 7th

Experts will Discuss the Effects of COVID-19 and Anti-Asian Hate and How To Cope

May 6, 2021 (WASHINGTON, DC) - Happy Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month! The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) celebrates the diversity and cultures of all AAPI people, this month and every month. May is also Mental Health Month. In honor of both AAPI culture and mental health awareness, and to remain committed to our social justice initiatives, NaFFAA is excited to start off this special month with an event centered on AAPI mental health.

Mental health must be normalized and integrated into our activism. We cannot bring our best work to the table if we are not taking care of ourselves. Therefore, NaFFAA will be hosting a Mental Health Panel WE CAN DO THIS:  Let's Help One Another Feel Better and Do Better: A Mental Health Discussion about PTSD from COVID-19 and Anti-Asian Hate Trauma, Its Effects, and How We Can Cope.

The event will take place on May 7th (8:00PM ET - 10:00PM ET / 5:00PM PT - 7:00PM PT), and it will be hosted by Rachelle Ocampo (NaFFAA, New York Executive Director).

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is sending social science analyst Dr. Victoria Chau, whose work focuses on Asian American mental health from a social and behavioral sciences perspective.  

Dr. Chau is a social science analyst at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHS) of the HHS, where she focuses on health equity and behavioral health. She has several projects at the federal level related to improving mental health and reducing substance misuse in vulnerable and racial/ethnic minority populations.  

Dr. Chau will be speaking on the nexus of mental health and the impact of covid on AAPI communities, especially the FilAm community and FilAm front line workers, and how the COVID-19 vaccine can help us cope.

 Joining Dr. Chau are the following experts and their topics:

  • Dr. Ana Junia, M.D. Medical Director at St Anne’s Hospital’s Geriatric Psychiatry Unit at New England Sinai Hospital (MA) | Effects of COVID - 19 PTSD on seniors and ways to cope
  • Dr. Janis Manalang, EdD, LMHC(FL), LPC (VA, DC), ACS Chief Executive Director/Clinical Director, the Key Group (VA) |  Effects of COVID-19 PTSD on married couples and adult relationships and ways to cope
  • Rosalie R. Sanchez, Filipina American licensed social worker in New York | Effects of COVID 19 PTSD (grief from deaths) and how to cope
  • Ray Tulio, Behavioral Health Specialist and Coach Team Manager, O'Neill Surf Team | Effects of Anti Asian Hate Acts (anxiety, depression) and how to cope
  • Lara Gregory, Esq., Founder, Legal Good (NY) | How the law protects us from dangers brought about by possible harassment from domestic violence rising from COVID-19 pandemic and also Anti-Asian Hate acts.
  • Rod Mercado, Founder of Financial Rescue (CA) | How to cope with the economic distress of losing a job in the pandemic

National Chairman and NaFFAA President Brendan Flores comments, “This past year has not been easy. We have all experienced isolation, loss, and grief in one form or another. It is often difficult to discuss the feelings or experiences we’ve had.  NaFFAA strives to be a safe community where we can be vulnerable and share both our culture and our humanity.”

The Panel will provide a safe space to talk to mental health providers about our experiences from anti-Asian hate, the pandemic, and beyond. Topics will include depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness,  and grief in the community, family and among seniors.

NaFFAA welcomes all to join in this special event. Mental health care is necessary for everyone, no matter how young or old. 

To receive the Zoom link and take part in the discussion, register at . For updates and reminders, follow us on

This event is being organized with our community partners including: 

Makilala TV SoJannelleTV Legal Good  Association of Philippine Physicians of America (APPA) Filipino Young Leaders Program  (FYLPRO)  International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA) Council of Young Filipino Americans in Medicine (CYFAM) National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA) Filipino Young Professionals of Washington DC (FYP DC) Partnerships for Sustainable Development, Inc. (PSDI) Next Day Better and Financial Rescue.