The winter holidays are coming. This means lots of holiday jingles, gift shopping, and family reunions (like this past Thursday). For many, it also means stress, loneliness, anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
There’s already been a fair amount written on the topic of Asian American mental health issues, so I won’t go into how and why these issues are so prevalent (a list of Asian American mental health articles is listed at the end of the post). Instead, I’d like to talk about how you can find help.
So far, I’ve come up with three main sources of help: friends & family, mental health professionals, and online forums. Mental health professionals are the best source, though they are the most expensive of the three. But if you can manage to find a good mental health professional, it will be well worth it.
Whichever path you choose, that first step is the most important one. Once you take it, you’ll be that much closer to removing those awful feelings. Good luck!
Friends and Family
Friends and family can be a source of help. Having a strong and trusted circle of friends is healthy, as they can provide emotional and social support.
Unfortunately for some people, these sources aren’t always reliable. You may not have many friends you feel you can turn to, or your family may be the foundation of your frustrations. They also aren’t trained professionals and their advice can be misleading or even damaging. If that’s the case for you, consider experienced mental health professionals instead.
Mental Health Professionals
Finding the right mental health professional can be a daunting endeavor. For Asian Americans, there are cultural and language considerations, in addition to the financial considerations. Cultural considerations include needing a professional who understand one’s own culture (both from an immigrant and an American-born standpoint) and fighting the stigma of discussing family & personal issues with a stranger. The language considerations are obvious. Financial considerations can be especially difficult for immigrants without health insurance.
Most of the mental health programs and professionals I’ve found are located in coastal metropolitans such as New York City and the California Bay Area. Services do exist within the rest of the US as well, though information on them is a little sparse.
Many mental health professionals accept HMO and private insurance. You can also pay out of pocket. The fees typically range anywhere from $50 – $200/session, though many offer sliding fees that can be adjusted based on your income.
If you know of other good sources, please let me know!
- Asian-American Mental Health Directory
This service provides listings of mental health professionals in the California Bay Area. It allows you to search by the type of service and by language preferred. Then it displays the professional’s contact info and typical fees, though many seem to be flexible with their prices.
- NY Coalition for Asian American Mental Health
This is a list of mental health professionals and programs in New York City. Many of the private practice providers listed (the pychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers) offer sliding fees to adjust to your financial situation; many accept HMO and private insurance also. Languages spoken are also provided.
- Asian LifeNet
This is a free telephone hotline available 24/7 to individuals in the New York City area. The number is 1-877-990-8585 and they can help with a wide range of issues, including family difficulties; depression, anxiety, bipolar, & panic disorders; and drug & alcohol abuse.
- National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
This service provides a listing of mental health professionals across the US, though its search interface isn’t as easy to use as the others. On the Search Listing page, you can just enter in the information you need and leave the rest blank. Basic contact info and languages spoken are provided for each professional; they don’t list their fees unfortunately.
Mental Health Online Forums
Online forums can also be helpful if there aren’t any Asian American mental health programs or professionals in your area. None targeted specifically for the Asian American community, however.
Like friends and family, online forums can only provide so much help; the respondents aren’t trained professionals and their advice can be misleading. Still, they are a good alternative since they can provide a network of support. But as soon as you feel a particular forum is becoming unhelpful or even abusive, leave it immediately.
If you know of other good forums, please let me know!
- Depression Forums
- Beating The Beast
- Mixed Nuts
- Anxiety Forum
- Anxiety and Stress Forum
Mental Health News Articles
- Asian-American mental health from the American Psychological Association
- Asian-Americans and the Mental Illness Stigma from 8Asians.com
- Depression and Suicidal Ideation among Young Asian Americans from Yellowworld.org
- Assessment of Anxiety and Depression in Asian American Youth from the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology
- Depression in APIA Adolescents from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health
- Anxiety Disorders in APIA Adolescents from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health
- The Deafening Silence: Depression Among Asian American Women from Asiance Magazine
- Asian American Women and Depression from womenshealth.gov
- Push to achieve tied to suicide in Asian-American women from 8Asians.com
- Depression and anxiety among asian american elders from ScienceDirect
- Depressive disorders in Asian American adults from the Western Journal of Medicine
- Mental Health Status of Japanese American Elders from Columbia University