Rita Phetmixay wants you to make your mental health a priority.
With this project, Phetmixay said she wants to raise awareness of Lao American stories of intergenerational healing and resilience, provide a place to process grief and destigmatize the idea of asking for help.
“I’m hoping that people can finally say, ‘Hey, I’m not weak for asking for support and I’m not weak for being soft or being in my feelings or being sensitive. I’m not weak for seeking therapy or whatever healing avenue works for me,'” Phetmixsay said. ‘”I am strong, I deserve to be healed and I deserve to have access to it.'”
Phetmixay said she noticed a narrative of trauma surrounded the Lao community, with emphasis on being products of war, and wanted to help members work through issues productively rather than just dwelling on them. By talking about her own experiences with trauma and interviewing other Lao Americans about their journey of healing, Phetmixay hopes listeners can apply what they hear to their lives.
“I am strong, I deserve to be healed and I deserve to have access to it. “
“There’s always that common thread of we did come from war, but we are more than our war trauma,” she said. “I had never thought there was a possibility of thriving, the possibility of managing my emotions or the possibility of having a choice. I want to bring that specific narrative and that specific spectrum to our community.”
Phetmixay said there is no right way to “be” and that she wants community members to realize they are valuable and capable.
“I think with any person on this planet, there’s always room to connect and I think that is the universal healing need
— to find love, to find belonging,” she said. “Often times, when we’ve been pitted with war and displacement, that is something we sometimes think we don’t have access to.”
While Phetmixay hopes to especially reach Lao millenials and youth through the platform, she wants to also one day reach other diasporic communities of color.
“This is a a space for everyone and anyone is welcome,” she said. “This content is owned by no one but the community itself.”
The first episode is out now and episodes will be released biweekly starting March 11.
“Healing Out Lao’d” can be found on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher.