Jason Chow

Jason Chow is a high-achieving engineer who works in Auckland’s CBD. With his smart suit and winning smile, he oozes success, confidence and capability, but life hasn’t always been easy.

Just after he graduated from university and started working in a stressful job, Jason started to feel depressed. After a few months’ leave and sessions with a psychiatrist, Jason started to feel better and returned to work.

Everything was going well, then his mood began to plummet again and he started having panic attacks.

“My work organised an occupational therapist for me, as well as going to the gym to help with the stress, and seeing a counsellor."

Mental illness not well known

When he first experienced mental health problems, Jason took on a lot of self-stigma, which was compounded by the stigma associated with mental illness in the Chinese community.

“At first, I wasn’t comfortable at all [with my diagnosis],” says the Hong Kong native, who moved to New Zealand 22 years ago.

“I’m in a culture where mental illness is not known very well. People think you’re crazy and have this bad perception of you. My aunty committed suicide 20 years ago and an uncle committed suicide last year because of psychological issues. It is quite a hidden condition.”

Challenges make you stronger

While he’s had a rocky time with his mental health, he is well at the moment and positive about the future.

“I didn’t want to tell people before, but now I love telling them because I bet you everyone in their lives will experience this at some time. I want people to know that what they’re going through is normal.”

That's why Jason took part in the 2014 Kai Xin Xing Dong Positive Energy project where he shared his personal story online, in the Chinese Herald and in the Auckland City Harbour News.

“A few people saw my article...congratulated me for being brave and taking part. I shared it on Facebook and some friends saw it and said ‘well done’ too.”

The 31-year-old believes it’s good for people to be honest about their experience of mental illness because it raises awareness and gives other people the opportunity to help.

 

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