- 24 million people identify as Asian American in the USA.
- 15% of the Asian American population reported dealing with at least one mental illness within the past year.
- 17.3 Asian American and Pacific Islanders will be diagnosed with a psychiatric condition in their lifetime, according to the National Latina and Asian American Study (NLAAS).
- The Asian American community is three times less likely to seek treatment for mental health issues.
- Racism due to Covid-19 has negatively affected Asian American mental health
Asian Americans in the United States have experienced racism alongside many other non-white individuals. Racism in the United States is fueled by white supremacy, and this form of racism has woven itself into the very fabric of American society and culture. The Covid-19 pandemic has driven many hidden racists out of their dens, rises in anti-Asian hate crimes have fueled violence and fear towards Asian Americans. Because of this racism, many Asian Americans have began to experience mental health issues related to the violence, the pandemic, and also intergenerational trauma.
The Asian American Community is very diverse and many Asian Americans have cultural ties to different countries. Within the Asian American community many languages are spoken, and mental health is treated differently by cultural experiences. Within the traditional Asian families seeking mental health treatment from spiritual guides, observing spiritual practices, doing meditation and also forms of chanting are practiced to align energies and bring peace to the mind. Studies have shown the major health benefits of these practices both on their own, and with professional mental health treatments. Language barriers and lack of access to culturally competent health care professionals make it challenging for some Asian Americans who suffer with mental health disorders. The stress of having to blend in with mainstream American culture can also add to mental stress. Asian Americans may also struggle with intersecting identities, for example being Asian American and LGBTQ can add more challenges in ones life. In order for our communities to live in harmony we must have our mental health needs met, more specialized resources for Asian American mental health should be provided by mental health professionals who are culturally competent and understand the unique challenges AAPI individuals face in their daily lives.
Asian American mental health matters, and all communities should join together in supporting the needs of our Asian American brothers and sisters. By helping each other, we help to empower and also raise our voices concerning the challenges we face as BIPOC peoples.