Project Human Every Day (PHED)

There can be stigma in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities when it comes to talking about receiving mental health services and treatment for substance use disorder – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Project Human Every Day is a video interview series aimed at breaking this stigma and opening up conversations around mental health and addressing substance use.

Closed captions in English, Traditional Chinese, and Spanish are available for each episode on YouTube. We thank our partner PALS for Health for working with us to translate the captions in Chinese and Spanish.

Episode 1: Nolan Ross

In this first episode of Project Human Every Day, we see Nolan Ross walking the streets of Long Beach – his home – as he shares about his personal journey regarding substance use, recovery, and mental health.

With blue skies and a sandy beach as a backdrop, Nolan opens up about the cultural, familial, and emotional dynamics that played a role in his mental health from an early age. He shares with us the feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety that he felt growing up, specifically concerning family expectations and his sexuality. With no one in his family to turn to, Nolan started experimenting with substances in his teens, beginning with alcohol and moving to methamphetamines later on.

Nolan struggled with addiction to methamphetamines for fourteen years before starting on a path toward healing and recovery. He is now proudly in recovery, but — like many Asian American and Pacific Islanders — he struggled to find resources and support due to the stigma associated with mental health and substance use disorders. In this episode Nolan speaks out about what recovery means to him, how he got there, and the changes he hopes to see for others struggling with addiction.

Watch the full episode to learn more about Nolan’s inspirational story!

Episode 2: Jocel Bibera

The second episode of Project Human Every Day is set in a meditation studio just one block away from Venice Pier. This is where Jocel Bibera found a safe space as she transitioned out of a difficult time and was able to experience different healing modalities. This is where Jocel chooses to share her journey of recovery regarding substance use and mental health with us.

Diagnosed with mental illness from an early age, Jocel and her family tried everything they could to help Jocel through the confusion of multiple mental health diagnoses and navigating all the medication prescribed to her over the years. It took Jocel hitting rock bottom many times before desperation and hopelessness finally led her to seek help.

In this episode, Jocel shares her journey of addiction and recovery and how she built back trust with her family and confidence in herself to be where she is today — fully in recovery.

Watch the full episode to learn more about Jocel’s inspirational story!

Episode 3: Leo Lishi Huang

The third and final interview of our pilot series, Project Human Every Day, takes place in Koreatown which Leo Lishi Huang has called home for over thirteen years. Here, he shares his story about his mental health, substance use, and recovery journey.

Although clinically diagnosed with a mental health disorder in his mid-twenties, Leo realized he was struggling with his mental health while in high school. At that time, a lack of cultural understanding regarding seeking mental health services prevented him from getting help, so he turned to substances.

In his journey to recovery, Leo found that it was not easy to find services to address both his mental illness and addiction, but he did not give up, and eventually found the path of recovery that worked for him. In this episode, Leo shares how the counselors he met at a mental health clinic changed his life by helping him move into recovery. This inspired him to become a substance use counselor himself and help others in their own journeys of recovery.

To learn more about Leo’s journey to recovery, view the full episode!