Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bill introduced to fight mental health woes of AAPI

MENTAL HEALTH is still a taboo subject in the Asian/American and Pacific Islander community.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., reintroduced legislation to curb mental health stigma in the AAPI community. 
The Stop Mental Health Stigma in Our Communities Act, instructs the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide outreach and education strategies for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community by partnering with local advocacy and behavioral health organizations that have an established record of serving AAPIs. 

"As a former clinical psychologist, I have seen firsthand how important mental health services can be," said Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. 

"Too many in the AAPI community in particular suffer in silence, afraid to talk about a problem they don’t understand. This is exacerbated by the pervasive myth that AAPIs are a ‘model minority’ that do not suffer from mental and behavioral disorders," said Chu. 

These strategies will increase awareness of symptoms of mental illness common among AAPI populations, provide linguistically and culturally appropriate interventions, and encourage individuals and communities to use a comprehensive, public health approach when addressing mental and behavioral health.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s National Healthcare Quality Report and the National Healthcare Disparities Report, AAPIs are the least likely to seek out mental health services, contributing to the stigma surrounding mental and behavioral health disorders in the AAPI community. 
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 "Just like you wouldn’t be expected to ignore a physical ailment like cancer, nor should you ignore mental and emotional ones like depression," said Chu. "This has to start with addressing the lack of accurate information about mental health conditions, symptoms, treatments, and support in communities and making sure that individuals who need help are aware of the resources available. 

"This bill is a crucial step towards properly addressing this issue within our community and creating a dialogue about the importance of mental health."