The Center for Disease Control and Prevention published their findings from 2004 and 2007 that Asian American women ages 65 and older have the highest suicide rate than any other racial group at 6.5 per 100,000. Another finding from the CDC states that Asian Americans 18 years and older have the second highest percentage of individuals dealing with serious psychological disorder at 1.9%.
So what does all this mean?
The loudest story we often hear is that people in Asian American communities face a lot of social stigma when seeking psychological help, so much so that many don’t get the help they need at all.
The author of Colorlines’ recent article about the high suicide rate among Asian American women highlights what an assistant clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University says about traditional Chinese culture. Chinese tradition, which values family honor, has meant that individuals are more often than not left to deal with their mental health issues on their own. There is a tendency for Chinese families to cover up any mental health issues that may exist among their family members.
However, focusing on the attitudes Asian American communities have toward those with psychological disorders only achieves to further alienate this ethnic group from the rest of the U.S. population. The narrative forwards the idea that this issue is something for the Asian American community to figure out. They just have to be more accepting and change their cultural norms!