It's Minority Mental Health Awareness Month!
Today's post is dedicated to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In the U.S., an estimated 18.2 million people claim full or partial Asian descent, according to government figures. This group of people is diverse, ranging from fifth-generation Japanese to newcomers from India.
Estimates vary, but one recent study found Asian-Americans face a 17.3% lifetime chance of getting a psychiatric disorder, including depression. Although that rate was lower than among other minorities, the study called mental health among Asian-Americans a growing public health concern, given the stigma around treatment and barriers to getting it. Asian Americans are less likely than whites to mention their mental health concerns.
Studies of Asian-American college students have found that they had higher rates of depression than white students, and they showed the most distress at the time they sought counseling compared to all racial groups.
The most high profile manifestation of these issues is suicides. According to CSU Fullerton Professor Eliza Noh, the second leading cause of death for Asian American women ages 15-24 is suicide, and Asian Americans have the highest female suicide rate among all racial groups.
Studies also show that Asian American college students were more likely than White American students to have had suicidal thoughts and to attempt suicide, as well as have greater rates of depression than white students. This alarming trend is also present in the high school population.
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