How Peer Support Can Support Asian American Communities

Mon, 04/12/2021 – 10:00

By Tea Tran, Facilitator at Lotus

Peer support is having someone in your corner who you can come to for resources and support. 

The pandemic; tragic shootings; racism against Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and the rise in hateful violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) – all highlight the need for accessible, peer-led, emotional support. Peer support can make an impact in these types of crisis situations because you are talking to someone who just “gets it.” A person who has been there before and has experience navigating the system will know about a wider range of resources.

Peer support can be a friendlier introduction to mental health; it can be more accessible and approachable than clinical services. Many people fall through the gaps in our current system because of financial barriers, culturally-illiterate care, and lack of therapeutic resources in general. Peer support catches folks who fall through the cracks and oftentimes is a resource for people who need compassionate care the most. 

In peer support, you can express yourself more freely knowing you will be heard by someone who has been there and survived. There is a certain social equity that is created. Lived experience and mutuality is at the heart of peer support. It is solidarity for one another, in action. 

In my own recovery process from a major car accident, peer support, along with therapy, has made all the difference. I am a traumatic brain injury and abuse survivor. I would not wish any of my experiences on a single living being, however, knowing that there are others who have a personal understanding of similar experiences has helped me feel less alone. Living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain from injuries, panic disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression is not easy. 

Even still, the social support and guidance from other peers helps me build resilience. I am more than my diagnosis. Sharing personal lived experience can lead to a profound shift–from telling an “illness story” to a “recovery story.” Peers can support their own recovery and that of others through practical and emotional support such as:

using positive self-disclosure,
inspiring hope, 
promoting empowerment and self-efficacy, and 
growing social networks. 

I have personally found joy in facilitating a peer-led group called Lotus, centering around the experiences of LGBTQ Asians. Each month we meet and check in with each other, share our thoughts on chosen or freeform topics, and strive to provide a safe, supportive space for all to express themselves freely. We honor the diverse diaspora of all Asian cultures as well as AAPI perspectives. 

Staying connected with people during a time where the world has varying degrees of self-isolation is critical. Having an identity-specific space where I can connect with others has been healing, cathartic, and empowering. 

Demonstrating the need for peer-led spaces, in the first two years of Peer Support Space, our peer spaces have been used over 8,000 times. In response to COVID-19, we shifted to virtual resources to continue providing support to an international community during a time of heightened distress. 

We welcome anyone looking for a peer support space to connect with others with shared lived experience. Check us out and join our chosen family and healing community. Visit Peer Support Space to learn more about their resources.

Tea Tran is a facilitator of Lotus, an Asian LGBTQ peer support group with Peer Support Space.  Tea is also a photographer and empowers clients to explore their best selves by providing a photoshoot experience and custom wall art galleries. She strives to create a safe space where you can discover more about yourself and provides support along your journey to peace through mental health advocacy. Tea serves the community through the arts as an LGBT female-owned small business owner with certifications in Diversity and Inclusion.

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The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…


Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.


Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at: