We the people of the United States of America, and any other nation or ethnicity, have the same human experiences when it comes to mental health and mental illness. Roughly 25% of people around the world will struggle with mental or neurological disorder in their lifetime. That’s huuuuge. And that includes Asians and Asian Americans.
It goes without saying that mental illness is one of those topics that is rarely talked about, especially in Asian American communities. And it’s not because of a language barrier, though sometimes it is that. There are cultural barriers unique to Asian American communities as such. Bunches of articles talk about the reasons why.
Asian Americans are three times less likely to seek mental health services than white Americans.in “Asian Americans Are Undergoing a Silent Mental Health Crisis. The stigma’s still going strong.” Vice, 2017.
How Silence is Deadly
Yes, Asian Americans and non-Asians alike get paralyzed and silenced by shame and stigma. That paralysis and silence needlessly prevents people from getting mental illnesses treated, people needlessly suffer, and those illnesses result in other symptoms that affect others negatively.
Most tragically, too many people die by suicide among Asian American communities. Way too many.
Since shame grows exponentially in silence, let’s do the opposite and talk about mental health. In so doing, we learn how to address the “elephant in the room” and we push back the darkness of fear and ignorance. Those who struggle can know they’re not alone; those who have a friend or relative who struggles can know how to understand and help.
How to Talk about Mental Health in Asian American Communities
The Erasing Shame podcast produced this audio/video series, Erasing Shame about Mental Health in Asian American Communities. Watch, listen, and share.
I got to be part of this Erasing Shame production. The Erasing Shame podcast continues to talk almost every week about how shame affects various aspects of our lives and relationships. We will keep talking until the shame subsides.
Yes, Asian Americans being honest and vulnerable with their struggles in some very personal areas—anxiety, insecurity, depression, suicidal ideation, pressure, family dysfunctions, pefectionism, divorce, sexuality, marriage, college life, and more.
I hope when you listen to them talk, it shows you that you can talk about your struggles with someone you feel safe with. And it will be healthy and healing.