STIGMA, STIGMA, STIGMA

As we know stigma impacts everything we do in the mental health community.
We applaud Congresswoman Judy Chu of California for introducing legislation
that would increase mental health awareness in the Asian-American
community. Article from Huffington Post is listed below.

Rep. Judy Chu Introduces Bill To Break Mental Health Stigma Among
Asian-Americans

Kimberly Yam
HuffPost June 6, 2017

A congresswoman is taking steps to address a rarely discussed issue in the
Asian-American community.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) recently introduced a bill that would help increase
mental health awareness among Asian-Americans and also
aim to end the negative stigma associated with the topic.

“If members of the community do not know that that help is there … the
alternative is suffering in silence.”

The legislation covers an issue that’s personal to Chu, who’s actually a
former clinical psychologist. She told HuffPost that mental health in the
community has long gone undiscussed, and she hopes that the bill will help
Asian-Americans understand that there are resources out they can take
advantage of.

“I worked with trauma victims and others who had mental health problems and
saw firsthand how important it was to take that first step to call a crisis
hotline or reach out for help,” she told HuffPost in an email. “If members
of the community do not know that that help is there … the alternative is
suffering in silence.”

The bill would call for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration , a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, to partner with
local advocacy and behavioral health organizations and develop outreach and
education strategies appropriate for Asian-Americans, Chu told
HuffPost. This also means implementing culturally understanding and
language-appropriate resources among other goals.

“Stigma around mental health has kept AAPI community members from talking
about it or even understanding it.”

“The first step is education,” Chu explained to HuffPost. “Stigma around
mental health has kept AAPI community members from talking about it or even
understanding it. Many do not even know that mental health is a treatable
illness, not a cause for shame.”

As the congresswoman brought up, mental health is difficult subject for the
Asian-American community. But statistics show it’s also one that cannot be
ignored. Senior Asian-American women have the highest rates of suicide
compared to any other race. In New York City, more than half of the
minority’s seniors expressed symptoms of loneliness or depression. And a
2005 study found that the Cambodian community has “shockingly high” rates of post
traumatic stress disorder and depression with some communities having as
high as almost two-thirds of adult population with these issues ― compare
that to the 6.7 percent of the general U.S. adult population that has major depression.

Howeve, as Chu mentioned, the issue has largely flown under the radar in
part because of the stigma attached to the subject, which has kept many
back from speaking up. In fact, Asian-Americans are three times less likely
than whites to seek mental health services. Many find it hard to speak out
due to the fear of “losing face,” or bringing shame to their families, experts say.

Moreover, the Asian-American mental health is further obscured by the model
minority stereotypes, which mask the need for resources to be devoted to
the topic. Which has contributed to the “glaring” health discrepancies
between the Asian-American community and the rest of the country, Chu told
HuffPost.

“That is why I introduced this bill, to address the stigma in a culturally
sensitive way and close the gap in care,” she said.

Glenn Liebman, CEO

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