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Muzna Abbas is the author of the book “Letters to My Brown Mother.” As a Pakistani-American daughter of immigrants, Muzna wrote this book as an ode to her own struggles with mental health. She hopes that sharing her insights and those of the people whom she interviewed in her research will encourage others to be more proactive in taking care of their mental wellbeing.

She is currently a dual-degree Master’s degree student at Georgetown University, pursuing an MBA as well as a Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) with a concentration in International Development. Prior to graduate school, she served as a bilingual teacher (Spanish and English) with Teach for America in Buffalo, NY where she also earned a Master’s degree in Bilingual Education from Canisius College.

Muzna is originally from Southern California and is a first-generation Pakistani-American. In her spare time, Muzna enjoys reading, photography, and learning how to cook Pakistani foods. She speaks Urdu, Hindi, and Spanish and is working on learning Arabic soon. Muzna currently resides in the Washington, D.C metro area with her dog, Baxter.

Discussion Topics

  1. Why has mental health been a taboo topic in the South Asian (desi) diaspora and how has this shaped your own experiences?
  2. What inspired you to embark on the journey of writing your book,  “Letters To My Brown Mother?”
  3. What are some of the cultural themes you became more aware of through your research that further deepens the stigma towards mental health in desi communities?
  4. How can we be more attentive to mental health concerns with our family, friends, and co-workers across a range of cultural backgrounds?

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Episode 76