SAN JOSE, Calif. -- For the past 30 years, licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Nira Singh has advocated for and served marginalized communities with a strong focus on programs for immigrant and refugee populations. Culturally responsive care is her lifelong work.
As the daughter of South Asian immigrants, Singh remembers the strength and determination of her parents as they navigated a new country. Even with limited resources and insufficient support, her family made it a priority to help others, inspiring Singh's passion for giving back.
"They really instilled in us the importance of helping others," recalled Singh. "And I guess I was just always that person growing up that people would come to with their problems, and I knew I wanted to do something in a helping profession."
Singh's growing passion for service led her to pursue psychology and dance, which kick-started her dedication to culturally sensitive, linguistically appropriate services.
Today, Dr. Singh serves as the Director of Behavioral Health at AACI (Asian Americans for Community Involvement). Located in Santa Clara County, the community-based organization focuses on strengthening the resilience and hope of diverse community members by improving their health and wellbeing.
Amidst distressing attacks against AAPI elders, AACI offers culturally sensitive mental health and wellness resources to help community members heal.
"Unfortunately, anti-Asian violence is not new. So, it has been really upsetting, it's been hard to process," expressed Singh. "It's been really important to support them in our clinical supervision and our groups, to provide spaces and listening circles."
For Singh personally, dance has been the main way for her to connect with her culture and mentally heal. AACI provides various forms of art therapy for clients as a way to express thoughts and feelings at their own pace.
"There's something about that community of movement that's just so important and freeing," explained Singh. "We're so lucky to be able to provide things like art therapy through our wellness classes, to provide different kinds of movement, and poetry--all kinds of outlets for folks to heal."
"We work really collaboratively to advocate for all of our marginalized and underserved population. And it's such an honor to get to do that," said Singh.
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AACI's Dr. Nira Singh leads culturally responsive mental health services in Bay Area