Recently, mental health conditions have increased across America, specifically within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) young adult community. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, discrimination and hate crimes have risen and been reported against AAPI individuals, exacerbating mental health conditions further. Additionally, research has found that the AAPI student community is the least likely racial group to seek mental health help.
The model minority myth attributed to many AAPI students affects some mental health professionals’ abilities to understand and treat the needs of their patients. The myth presents the idea that AAPI individuals are naturally successful simply due to their ethnic background. This belief has led to many students not receiving the mental health care they need through lacking resources and support.
The resources that are available are not always accessible. According to Mental Health America, 32.6% of Asian Americans are not fluent in English, and there is a lack of AAPI therapists fluent in other languages. Language barriers prevent quality care.
Mental health support
Students are encouraged to inquire about what mental health services are available to them through their college or university. It is important to know the cost, length of treatment, and insurance requirements prior to starting counseling. If interested in therapy, students should also look into the profile of staff and seek providers with training and background in working with AAPI individuals.
In some cases, individuals are not ready for or do not want to seek therapy, and there are independent learning options (though not a replacement for professional support). Experts support the practice of keeping wellness journals to track mental health symptoms and log high and low moods. Written and audio literature are also available to boost education and awareness. Lastly, community is important to many people, and so leaning on friends and family is an effective way improve mental health.
Resources for AAPI students
There are multiple resources accessible to those within the AAPI community: