Celebrating the Lunar New Year for a Balanced Body and Mind

Chinese New Year

The 2015 Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, is right around the corner. On February 18th, many Chinese families will be celebrating with food, fruit, sweets, and the children will be excited for their red envelopes prior to the New Year on February 19th as they ring in the Year of the Ram or Sheep! The holiday is an important traditional Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the Lunar calendar.

As home to the largest and oldest Chinatown in the U.S., and with the largest Chinese population in California, the city of San Francisco celebrates Chinese New Year with grand arrangements, spectacular parades and amazing events.  Also during this time, several organizations in San Francisco are holding a celebration of their own to promote mental wellness for the Chinese community.

Cameron House, a non-profit service agency, has served generations of low income Chinese American immigrants, families and youth since 1874, and continues to empower them to fully participate in and contribute positively toward a healthy society.

As the Lunar New Year approaches, the staff at Cameron House is busy gearing up for a celebration for its cancer support group with festivities including fan dancing, food and karaoke.

Another organization ringing in the Year of the Ram is coincidentally named Richmond Area Multi-Services (RAMS), a private non-profit mental health agency committed to advocating for and providing community-based, culturally competent and comprehensive services for the Asian Pacific Islander community.  During this time the staff holds celebrations with food, music, activities and decorations. The celebrations are also an opportunity to educate their non Chinese clients about the history and meaning of Chinese New Year.

Founded in 1974, RAMS offers comprehensive services that aim to meet the behavioral health, social, vocational and educational needs of the diverse community in the San Francisco  area serving about 18,000 adults, children, youth and families annually.  RAMS has received numerous awards for culturally competent service delivery, clinical training, employment of people with disability and community leadership.

In addition to celebrating Chinese New Year, RAMS will also be honoring “Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day” on May 10, 2015.  First established in 2010 by the State of California and the City & County of San Francisco, Asian Pacific Mental Health Day recognizes the importance of raising awareness about mental health in the API community.   The establishment of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day was an effort spearheaded by RAMS and overwhelmingly supported by many major associations and community coalitions.

With the API community’s interest in mind, Cameron House and RAMS are great organizations making a difference as they promote mental wellness during the Lunar New Year for a balanced body and mind.

Gong Hey Fat Choy!