“You came here, your parents and their parents and their parents, and you always seem to have just arrived and yet never seem to have actually arrived.” – Charles Yu
6.1% of the US population identifies as Asian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander (AAPI). Of this population, 15% have reported having a mental illness in the past year. This means over 2.9 million people, and that is just the people that have reported it. Within the community, mental health is taboo and rarely brought up. Mental health is something that is shoved under the rug and not given the light it needs within the community, but it is a big community.
Those in the AAPI community have the lowest help-seeking rate of any other racial group with only 23.3% of AAPI adults getting the help and/or treatment they need in 2019. There is an insane amount of stigma and shame that is within the group. With those not pursuing help because they don’t want others to find out or fear the judgment that they might receive from their peers. When someone seeks help it is seen as a sign of weakness, poor parenting, and more. It can bring shame to not only the person but their entire household.
Stigmas & Expectations
As someone that is a part of this community, it hurts to see that those I feel a deep connection to feel shame when trying to better themselves. There is a stigma and level of expectations that is disgusting. As someone that is also biracial, I have felt the feeling heavily that I will never be ____ enough. Fill in the blank with whatever, whether it be white, Asian, etc. I know that many others in my place have felt this feeling before. There is usually high, unrealistic, and biased standards within the community it is easy to feel responsible, yet unable to meet these standards. They can set by families, society, and even the person themselves. It can contribute to low self-esteem especially among Asian-American women
Burden & Social Media
Suicide and suicidal thoughts are very present and rising, people that identify as AAPI often don’t want to be a burden on those around them. This leads them to believe that suicide is the only option. Particularly within teenage and young adult AAPI people, the rise of social media and the all-around rise of mental health issues has hit the AAPI community hard.
Within the AAPI community, there is also a heightened problem with the LGBTQ+ community. Men are seen as the strong pillars of a family and they should not be seen as weak. While women are seen as the skinny, small, quiet caregivers. When someone breaks out of these stigmas it has the potential to end poorly. It also is a factor in the dismissal of seeking help or coming out, as well as the higher suicide rate.
Trauma & Generational Issues
AAPI immigrants will, sadly, most likely experience some form of trauma. This trauma can be passed down to their children, their children’s children, and so on. Generational trauma is largely present and is one of the most difficult things to deal with. It can come from within the family and can also come from generational racial discrimination.
- Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA)
- National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
- Asian Mental Health Collective
- Project Lotus
- Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
- Inclusive Therapists
- South Asian Therapists
- Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Centers
- Asians Do Therapy
- Asian Women for Health
- National Asian Women’s Health Organization
- Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence
- My Sister’s House
- Asian Women’s Shelter
- National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
- Asian Pride Project
- LGBTQ Psychotherapists of Color
- Inclusive Therapists