With 6,900 members and growing, the Khmerbodian Community (KBC) Facebook group has connected Cambodians from around the world, including the United States, Australia, Canada, France, South Korea, Japan, and more. One member, Savoeunn Phan, a technical engineer from Silver Spring, MD, has appreciated the sense of global camaraderie the group has provided during the pandemic so much that she joined a committee to launch KBC’s YouTube channel.
“For myself, I focus on my mental health, and my physical and emotional health, because we are social creatures.”
“I find myself more connected,” Savoeunn said. “I am not the kind of person who talks to people unless in person, being out and about. I think everyone being forced to stay at home has allowed time to communicate to connect during the stay-at-home order. Before, everyone was busy with their own lives. It was difficult for us to stay connected and talk as often.”
From pictures of food to updates on daily happenings, members have taken to group chats via active Facebook Messenger threads to keep connected. Native dance lessons and virtual happy hours have boosted morale. On a personal level, Savoeunn also incorporates meditation to stay balanced and reduce her stress.
“For myself, I focus on my mental health, and my physical and emotional health, because we are social creatures,” Savoeunn said. “We need people. I think it has been demoralizing, especially for our elders, where they don’t have the freedom to meet with their friends and family. Our elders love social gatherings, and they don’t use social media and technology to stay in touch with family and friends. I worry about them being disconnected.”
Check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide to access resources around getting mental health support during these unprecendented times. Visit SEARAC’s COVID-19 resource site for additional in-language information.