According to a recent study by Ascend, only 1.5% of executives in the Fortune 500 are Asian, and only 2.8% of corporate board seats are held by Asian Americans. This lack of representation has consequences, not just in the corporate world but also in fields like suicide prevention. Asian Americans are significantly less likely than other racial/ethnic groups to seek mental health treatment, partly due to cultural stigma and lack of access to culturally competent care.
As an Asian American woman, I am acutely aware of the underrepresentation of our community in leadership positions. I also know what it feels like to see someone who looks like me being represented and included. By increasing the visibility of Asian Americans, especially in leadership positions, we can help break down barriers and create a supportive environment not just for Asian Americans but for everyone. Seeing people who look like us in positions of influence and authority can be a powerful reminder that our experiences matter and that people who are “just like us” are doing the work that affects us.
We can act as reminders that people aren’t alone and spark realizations that help-seeking is normal. I hope that stepping forward and speaking up will create a more inclusive and compassionate culture around mental health. I am committed to amplifying diverse perspectives and promoting a more equitable future.
I’m grateful for the leadership the Suicide Prevention Resource Center models in this field, especially around inclusion and equity.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health challenges, know that you are not alone. Help is available, and there is no shame in seeking support.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 988 (previously 1-800-273-8255) is a toll-free hotline in the US for people in distress who feel like they are at risk of harming themselves. Veterans can press 1 for veteran-specific services. An alternative to the Lifeline is the Crisis Text Line (741-741), which offers confidential support 24/7 via text message.