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Facts and Statistics

Over 19 million people in the United States identify as Asian-American or Pacific Islander, and of that population, more than 13% were diagnosed with a mental illness in the past year.1

Asian-Americans report fewer mental health conditions than their white counterparts. However, they are more likely to consider and attempt suicide. There are several barriers to this population seeking help from mental health professionals, including language barriers, stigma, and lack of awareness of resources and mental health services. Studies show that Asian-Americans are three times less likely than their white counterparts to seek treatment for their mental health concerns. They also avoid seeking treatment or utilizing mental health services because doing so would admit the existence of a mental health disorder, and in turn would bring shame to their family's name. Asian-Americans also have the most difficulty accessing mental health treatment due to the language barrier.2 

Choosing a Provider

It is important to find a provider who demonstrates cultural competence - which describes the ability of healthcare systems to provide care to patients with diverse values, beliefs and behaviors and taking into account their social, cultural and linguistic needs.3 Unfortunately, research has shown lack of cultural competence in mental health care, which results in misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment. When meeting with your provider, ask questions to get a sense of their level of cultural sensitivity, such as whether they have treated other Asian-Americans, received training in cultural competence, and how they plan to take your beliefs and practices into account when suggesting treatment. Learn more about finding the right therapist

Trending Articles:


1. Asian American/Pacific Islander Communities and Mental Health, MHA

2. Mental Health Among Asian-Americans, APA

3. Becoming a Culturally Competent Health Care Organization, AHA

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