Asian Americans need culturally competent mental health care

Asian Americans make up 4% of the United States population, roughly 11 million people from China, India, Korea, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and Vietnam. Despite the high risk for depression, language barriers, social stigma, and availability make mental health care virtually obsolete among this growing minority.

Asian Americans Are at High Risk for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Many Asian immigrants from Southeast Asia are refugees from tyrannical or oppressive regimes who have been exposed to a disproportionate amount of violence. (Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2005)

  • 60% of Cambodians and 48% of Vietnamese reported robbery, rape, or torture upon leaving the country. 95% of Cambodians reported the loss of a family member from "unnatural" causes. (Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2005)

  • Psychologists with cultural and refugee training have had previous success with Asian PTSD by using cognitive-behavioral therapy to help ease somatic symptoms common with Asian American patients. (Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2005)

Asian Americans Need Culturally Tailored Care

  • 1 in 2 Asian Americans suffering from mental illness will not seek help due to a language barrier. (APA Commission of Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training)

  • In 2002, only 2.3% of the 90,000 doctoral level psychologists were Asian. (APA Commission of Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training)

  • Asian Americans born in the United States are at higher risk for mental illness as a result of assimilating to American culture and its clashes with Asian values, usually enforced by elder family members. (National Latino and Asian American Study)

  • Many cognitive screening tests have cultural and linguistic bias, making it difficult to diagnose Asian American patients, especially elderly. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2005)

  • The high education and economic status of most Asian Americans places them out of many underserved areas and takes focus away from their growing mental health care needs. (Surgeon General’s Report, 2000)