Asian and Pacific Islander

The 2014 U.S. Census found that there are 6 million people who identify as Asian or Pacific Islander (API) living in California. Nearly 13.9 percent of the API community is reported to be living with a mental health condition and face obstacles to effective treatment such as stigma and language barriers.

API communities have several factors that support mental health and wellbeing, such as strong family connections and cultural practices that promote balance for better health and wellbeing. However, people from the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, especially those who have more recently immigrated to the US, may be less likely to seek mental health support than the general population.

In some Asian cultures, expression of one’s feelings is an admission of weakness. Furthermore, the words used in some languages to describe mental health challenges have negative connotations which contribute to a strong stigma around mental illness.

Strides are being made to reduce stigma and increase the number of mental health professionals who can provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care. The resources below raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention as well as list organizations working with this community. To download a PDF with the resources listed below, click here.

Asian and Pacific Islander Resources on the EMM Resource Center

Head over to the Each Mind Matters Resource Center (EMMresourcecenter.org) to find several resources for Asian and Pacific Islander communities, including curated collections for Lunar New Year and Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Lifeline Crisis Chat: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org (available 24/7)
Need help now? Text "START" to 741-741

San Francisco Bay Area Chinese Community Depression Education Project

Project to reduce stigma and discrimination in Chinese American community. Contains videos, posters, brochures and materials in English and Chinese for a variety of ages.

California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus

The California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus maintains a Community Resources page with links to organizations and programs that offer a wide range of services and activities.

California Reducing Disparities Project’s Asian Pacific Islander Population Report

In Our Own Words: The California Reducing Disparities Project’s Asian Pacific Islander Workgroup Population Report includes a list of promising programs and strategies for working with API as well as a wealth of information about API mental health and how to improve outreach, services and penetration into API communities.

Student Mental Health Program Guide to Culturally Responsive Services for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI)

This publication presents some common barriers related to mental health shared by students from historically marginalized racial and ethnic backgrounds, and will describe how resources specific to the community college system can help support their access to mental health services.

The Community College Student Mental Health Program’s Guide to Supporting Students from Diverse and Ethnic Backgrounds

The Community College Student Mental Health Program’s Guide to Supporting Students from Diverse and Ethnic Backgrounds presents some common barriers related to mental health shared by students from historically marginalized racial and ethnic backgrounds, and describes how resources specific to the community college system can help support their access to mental health services.

Disability Rights California Mental Health Stigma & Discrimination Reduction Project

Disability Rights California’s web site and fact sheets provide useful information about stigma, discrimination, and advocacy and are available in Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Khmer and more languages.

API Health Source

Health and wellness resources for Asian and Pacific Islander communities, including directory of behavioral health clinicians with special language and cultural expertise.

SSG Mental Health Alliance

SSG Mental Health Alliance is a public/private partnership of 6 mental health organizations that work together to provide an effective, culturally competent, community-based system of care as an alternative to the hospital-based system for Asian and Pacific Islander clients with severe mental illness in the Los Angeles area.

Asian Pacific Community Counseling

Asian Pacific Community Counseling provides counseling and mental health support services to the API community in the Sacramento area.

Pacific Asian Counseling Services

Pacific Asian Counseling Services provides mental health services for MediCal eligible children and adults in the greater Los Angeles area. They have significant cultural and linguistic expertise in serving refugee and immigrant API populations. They have brochures for their services in the following languages: Chinese, Khmer, Japanese, Korean, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese and English.

Asian Family Institute

The Asian Family Institute is a program of the Richmond Area Multi-Service, Inc. that provides culturally competent behavioral health services with an emphasis on serving the Asian Pacific Islander communities in the Bay Area.

NICOS Chinese Health Coalition

The NICOS Chinese Health Coalition is a public-private community partnership of over 30 organizations whose mission is to improve the health of San Francisco’s Chinese community. The Coalition supports several projects and initiatives relates to behavioral health and also provides some training and technical assistance through its partners.

National Asian Pacific Islander Mental Health Association

The National Asian Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) implements campaigns, provides interpreter trainings to providers in California and a few other states, and provides technical assistance to in-state agencies and organizations. With the support of NAPIMHA, the National Asian American Pacific Islander Empowerment Network is a California-based advocacy group that works to develop leadership from within the API community who have direct experience of mental health challenges. Their goal is to improve the service delivery system for API consumers.

National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse

The website of the National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse provides information about mental health, substance abuse and gambling. The site includes a locator for substance abuse and/or mental health agencies that serve Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

NAMI API Outreach Resource Manual

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) compiled an API Outreach Resource Manual that outlines strategies to improve mental health outreach and access to services for the API community. The manual provides information about API mental health as well as resources for organizations including model programs and best practices.

Selected Patient Information Resources in Asian Languages

Selected Patient Information Resources in Asian Languages (SPIRAL) provides information, tools and resources on a wide range of health issues, including mental health topics.