The month of May brings forth an opportunity to celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities, show our appreciation for our Military families with Military Appreciation Month, and bring awareness on the importance of addressing mental health issues tied to Mental Health Awareness month.

While these celebrations might seem isolated from one another, I am living proof that an intersection of identities is the perfect inspiration to create connections and meaningful change.

My parents emigrated from Taiwan to the United States when I was a year old. Over the next several years, we moved around a lot but eventually settled into a small town in Oklahoma– a place where not many people looked like me. From a young age, I was living two identities.  One behind closed doors where I learned and maintain the traditions and cultural nuances of my Taiwanese heritage. The other, learning the new traditions and cultural nuances of my new home. At times, I struggled at both.

Those lessons helped to shape me as an adult, influencing my passions and my career choices – from serving in the United States Army as a flight surgeon in Iraq and Afghanistan, to my role here at AT&T focusing on health and wellbeing. While there are some obvious differences in those careers, one thing holds true: when we’re focused on a larger mission, we serve everyone, regardless of who you were or where you came from.

As it turns out, my struggle with living two cultures was the source of my greatest strength and has allowed me to embrace my authentic self and appreciate people as they are and not why they don’t act, look, or think like me. 

Creating those authentic connections also inspire my work at AT&T to provide employees with mental health resources that help them reach greater possibility—in their personal and professional lives. I’ve learned that regardless of everyone’s unique personal journeys, prioritizing our mental health is an overarching need that crosses over all communities.  

It was seeking out mental health resources for veterans and relying on the support provided that has allowed me to succeed personally and professionally. And as an Asian American, I know first-hand the cultural struggle underrepresented communities face when seeking out mental health resources.

It’s my goal for our employees to care for their mental health just like they do their physical health. Whether you are suffering silently or simply looking for ways to improve your focus or presence at work, you don’t need to do it alone. From coaching to therapy, AT&T offers it all.

Immigrants. Medical Doctors. Veterans. Instead of a single label, let’s use the diversity of our people and the intersection of identities to connect with one another. Let’s advance a wellbeing culture where all of our lived experiences are seen, heard, and supported. Let’s challenge ourselves as individuals to look within and be that inspiration for others seeking to better themselves. 

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Dr. Jeff Tzeng (DO, MPH, MBA)
Dr. Jeff Tzeng (DO, MPH, MBA) Head of Health and Wellbeing at AT&T