The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is less likely to seek help for mental health concerns than the general population. This is a large part of the reason why suicide was the leading cause of death within the AAPI community in 2019 for people between the ages of 15 and 24. Since then, many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have also experienced increased bigotry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only furthering the need for adequate mental health care.
So, why is this need not being met?
Less likely to seek and receive care
According to one study, 17% of Asian Americans experience psychiatric disorders in their lifetime, but only 8% of these people seek treatment. In the general population, nearly 18% seek treatment, highlighting a great disparity. The reasons may be cultural or personal, but societal factors play a large part like a lack of mental health service providers in the United States.
Lack of providers that look like them
When AAPI do seek care, it’s difficult to get it from those who look like them—those who can better understand their day-to-day struggles and experiences. In the United States, just 5% of psychologists are Asian.
Discrimination and racism
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated xenophobia and racism toward the AAPI community. According to the Pew Research Center, three in ten Asian adults say they have been called slurs or have been on the receiving end of jokes because of their race or ethnicity since 2019. This kind of discrimination takes a toll on mental health and causes more anxiety, depression, and psychological distress.
At Valley Oaks Health, we provide healthcare to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. If you need help, turn to our team for services like individual counseling and group therapy.
You may also turn to resources specifically designed for the AAPI community:
- Asian American Health Initiative
- Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum Community Care Package
- Asian American Psychological Association
- Asian Mental Health Collective
- Asian Mental Health Project
- National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
- National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
- Asian American Counseling and Referral Services