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Mental illness stigma is higher among ethnic minorities than majorities.




Currently, racial and ethnic minorities make up about one-third of the American population

As these diverse communities begin to account for more of the U.S. population, it becomes critical to understand their unique behavioral and mental health needs.


in the AAPI Community

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of the U.S. population identifies as

Asian American or Pacific Islander.



identified as Asian American or Pacific Islander


That is over




Of those nearly 

reported having a mental illness in the past year

Asian Americans are


less likely to seek treatment or help than other racial groups


fighting for the mental health of marginalized groups helps fight for their lives and rights


Globally, women are affected to a greater extent by depression and anxiety than men


Over 2.5 million youth in the U.S. have severe depression


Asian Americans are 3x less likely than whites to seek treatment for mental health conditions


50 million Americans experience at least one mental illness


About 1 in 7 children & teens in the country deal with a mental health disorder


Only 1 in 3 Black adults in the U.S. who need mental health care will receive it

Asian Americans

Existing Barriers

Dismissive Parents

Saving Face

Communal Disapproval


Participants in studies have noted that parents dismiss mental health without trying to understand because they don't identify any noticeable physical problems. They note that their parents' lack of concern as a prominent barrier to mental health utilization.

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Many studies conclude the disclosure of a mental illness brings upon shame to the family & is a sign of weakness in Asian culture. Parents' emphasize "saving face" by maintaining importance of not speaking to people outside family about mental health issues


Community disapproves of burdening others with problems. People are hesitant to discuss with friends & family due to possible burdens they may impose of them. Asians also report struggling to discuss Asian stigmas in mental health with non-Asian friends.

Language Barriers

Lack Intervention Models


Language barriers in Asian American households complicate seeking mental health treatment and support. It leads to many mistranslations and countless misdiagnoses

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Talk therapy models lack culturally sensitive & appropriate approach. Providers not sharing cultural background hold certain assumptions, undermining effective mental health treatment

Overcoming Stigmas

acknowledgement, curiousity, & openness

Culturally Competent Care

Culturally attuned providers who are mindful of cultural factors & family expectations are key to overcoming barriers. You don't have to be of the same ethnicity but be curious and open.

Nuances in Communication

The language barrier is a big hurdle for many people in the AAPI community, but communication issues can be even more nuanced.

Awareness of Asian Stigmas

Remember to constantly educate yourself and others. Let more people become aware of Asian stigmas through social media. Learn cultural responsiveness for yourself, friends, and community.

Empowerment Over Shame

Fight stigma by choosing to live an empowered life. Parents should also learn to choose empowerment over shame and to be conscious of their own comments. It’s important to not harbor self-stigma.

Equality Between Physical & Mental

When people understand the true facts of what a mental illness is, being a disease, they think twice about making comments. It’s important to remind them to treat mental and physical illness equally.

Talk Openly About Mental Health

Fight stigma by talking about what it is like to have bipolar disorder and PTSD on social media and to your friends and family. Even if this helps just one person, it makes a big difference to them.



Mental Health Disparities

Racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities often suffer from poor mental health outcomes due to multiple factors including inaccessibility of high quality mental health care services, cultural stigma surrounding mental health care, discrimination, and overall lack of awareness about mental health.

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