May is Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the lives and contributions of AANHPI individuals. It’s also Mental Health Awareness Month. This is an opportunity to discuss the intersection of mental health and AANHPI identity.
Mental health has long been stigmatized in the AANHPI community, with many individuals feeling ashamed or embarrassed to seek help. This stigma is often compounded by historical, cultural, and linguistic barriers that make accessing mental health resources difficult for AANHPI individuals. Our culture and identities are not often centered when engaging service providers, which can limit understanding and prevent help-seeking.
It’s critical that we acknowledge the specific challenges with mental health that AANHPI people experience. We can guarantee that AANHPI people receive the treatment and support they require by supporting inclusive mental health services and working to remove systemic, cultural, and linguistic obstacles. We should also encourage highlighting and including service providers and professionals who identify as AANHPI. By elevating visibility, we could also increase help-seeking and reduce stigma.
Inclusion goes beyond mental health services but should be prioritized in this space. We should build inclusive workplaces and neighborhoods that embrace diversity and acknowledge the achievements and unique needs of AANHPI people. Addressing stigma and supporting mental health should be everyone’s priority, no matter what community or culture we come from. Until we can all get the care we deserve, we will all continue to be impacted by need.
I am a proud Korean-American who understands the importance of mental healthcare. I am also a person who has sought mental healthcare for myself.
Let’s honor AANHPI people’s accomplishments in May while emphasizing the value of inclusive mental health.
How will you proactively reduce stigma and raise visibility for the AANHPI community?