Thrive Spice | Asian American Mental Health
  • Vanessa Tsang Shiliwala
7 episodes
Real talk on mental health, resilience and joy for Asian Americans.  Thrive Spice is a podcast that feels a little like "group therapy" meets "celebrity interview"... with all of the feels, and none of the judgement. Join us each week as we share real stories of influential Asians - business leaders, activists, celebrities, entrepreneurs, and creators - and ask how they have found ways to cope, survive and thrive.  We break down cultural and social barriers to Asian mental health and talk about all the things we're not supposed to -  burnout, depression, anxiety, racial and sexual trauma, the "Bamboo Ceiling", LGBTQ+ and intersectional identities, body image, suicide, cancer, etc. Each episode highlights ways to navigate the pressures of family, social media, our careers, our communities and our own minds.  Our mission is to normalize conversations about mental health and emotions in the AAPI community, amplify the voices of AAPI leaders, and share resources, positive affirmations and inspiring stories.


Asians Speak Up | Brian Gao and Arin Siriamonthep on Activism, Allyship and Mental Health under Pressure
2021 Jun 161h 4m 4s
You're never too young or too old to find your voice. We talk to Brian Gao (incoming NYU Stern '25) and Arin Siriamonthep (Boston University '24) of Asians Speak Up,  a New York based AAPI community advocacy group that has been featured on ABC Eyewitness News and Buzzfeed News.  Brian and Arin tell us why the pandemic and recent hate crimes inspired them to create Asians Speak Up as high school students, and how sharing your truth and being part of a bigger movement for change can positively impact your mental health and build confidence in your identity, creative abilities and self-expression. We talk about real vs. performative allyship in #BLM and #StopAsianHate, and why tennis player Naomi Osaka's recent decision to drop out of the French Open due to depression and anxiety highlights how tennis and competitive sports are just as much a mental game as physical. About Asians Speak Up: A New York-based community advocacy group  started by Brian Gao (incoming NYU Stern '25) and Arin Siriamonthep (Boston University '24), two students looking to facilitate conversation between Asians and their communities in an attempt to increase awareness about racism to create unity. They hope to develop a platform where Asians across the globe can come together with support and inspiration to help others.
Jonathan TranPham on the Power of Therapy, LGBTQ+ Pride, and Hustle Culture in Silicon Valley
2021 Jun 0952m 23s
Happy Pride Month! Our guest is Jonathan TranPham, the CEO and Founder of reflect, a company whose mission is to make mental health more accessible. We talked about his own struggles with anxiety and how finding a therapist inspired him to create reflect.  We talked about coming to terms with gay pride at work, toxic masculinity, and the model minority myth. We also explored how therapy can help facilitate trans-generational healing when it comes to our immigrant parents as well as future generations. Exclusive offer for Thrive Spice listeners: $50 off your first therapy session when you go to and use the promo code THRIVESAVE50. About reflect: reflect uses a data-driven algorithm and an experienced team to match you with an amazing therapist. Thanks to this, 80% of reflect clients see a meaningful improvement in their lives after just 6 sessions. Plus, reflect has pre-negotiated with top therapists to provide their services at up to 50% less than their typical rates. Choose from in-person or teletherapy sessions. Starting therapy has never been easier.LGBTQ+ entrepreneur resources:  Start OutAAPI Advocacy and Representation: Stand with Asian Americans
Mirfie Chan on Motherhood, Money and Purpose: "Curate the life you want to live"
2021 Jun 021h 34s
Mirfie Chan, founder of Love, the Chans, a social impact-based artisanal textile brand, shares how her experiences as an Arab Singaporean immigrant, wife and mother raising a mixed-race Asian American family have led her to champion diversity and conscious change in her personal and professional life.
Holly Raña Lim on Confronting Stereotypes, Imposter Syndrome, and Racial Identity
2021 May 261h 2m 6s
Holly talks about her journey and ever-changing identity growing up as a Pinay immigrant, and how she found her voice as a self-described introvert to become Student Body President at UC-Riverside and the founder of Holly Lim Strategies, a campaign strategy consulting firm that helps BIPOC and young adult candidates win their first election.
Sakina Issa on the Power of Affirmations, Unlocking a Positive Mindset, Letting Go of Perfectionism, and Cultivating Self-Love & Boundaries
2021 May 1957m 9s
Sakina talks about finding balance between both Indian and American cultures, and how it ultimately shaped her personal and career journey as a mother (who just gave birth to her 3rd child 2 days ago - Congrats Sakina!), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Co-Founder of the E.L.O. Deck, a children's affirmation card deck and parent resource. Sakina tells us about escaping an arranged marriage proposal at the age of 18, growing up feeling "different" as an Indian kid, and why it's important to tell our children that they can make mistakes. We discuss cultivating a positive mindset:  why hearing affirmations from a young age is so critical, how we can celebrate the beauty of Indian and Eastern cultural values of family and respect, while still questioning the stigmas and irrational beliefs that Asian communities have about marriage, therapy, divorce, and the value and purpose of women.BONUS: My 3-year-old and I test out the E.L.O. Deck.  Get ready for some heartwarming giggles.   About E.L.O. Deck:
Kimberle Lau on Positive Parenting, Breaking the "Bamboo Ceiling", and Breast Cancer
2021 May 121h 4m 37s
Kimberle Lau, mother of 2 and founder of Kimmie’s Healthy Treats, talks about her mental health journey as a Chinese-American parent and clean baking entrepreneur, a professional trying to break the “Bamboo Ceiling”, and her family's battle with breast cancer.  We discuss how we parent differently than previous generations, why we feel the stigma of “not burdening others” when it comes to mental and physical health issues, standing up against anti-Asian hate speech and violence, and why Kimberle refuses to let breast cancer define her.  Also, we may need one of her plant-based cupcakes after this episode. About Kimmie's Healthy Treats:Created by a Chinese-American mom of 2, this social impact-driven clean bakery brand creates healthy custom desserts and cupcakes with 100% natural, plant-based food dyes like turmeric and beets, based in Long Island, New York.  Listeners can find a promo code for 10% off in the episode. Mental Health & Wellness Resources: iHollagram: Free AAPI Anti-Harassment and Bystander Intervention Trainings for Allies
Sherene Chou on Asian Joy during a Pandemic, Hate Crimes, Body Positivity, and Suicide Loss
2021 May 0358m 20s
Sherene Chou, an award-winning dietitian and Co-Founder of Food + Planet, is on a mission to advocate for representation for AAPI and BIPOC communities.  She talks about her mental health during the pandemic, from anti-Asian hate crimes to a delayed wedding due to COVID and a car accident.  We discuss why body positivity is so hard within Asian culture, and what it's like to be a survivor of suicide loss. Mental Health & Wellness Resources: iHollagram: Free AAPI Anti-Harassment and Bystander Intervention Trainings for Allies American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): for those who are struggling with suicide or have lost a loved one.  Find a support group for survivors of suicide loss: