• Nov 22, 2022

Mental Health Stigmas among Asian-Americans

Mental Health Stigmas among Asian-Americans

According to the 2019 Census Bureau, there are over 18.9 million Asian-Americans living in the United States. They comprise 5.7% of the country’s population. Most Asian-Americans choose to live in big cities like California, New York, Texas, and New Jersey, to name a few. They may be considered a minority group, but they help shape what the U.S is today. They contributed in different fields that brought positive changes to the country.

However, mental health is one topic that many of them avoid discussing. Sadly, there are mental health stigmas among Asian-Americans that they still experience up to this day. Whether it is within their community or from other races, one fact still remains: mental health is a taboo all on its own.

Model Minority Myth

The model minority myth is purely based on stereotypes. It imposes the idea that all Asian-Americans are intelligent, successful, hardworking, polite, and law-abiding. This enforces the misconception that they could do nothing wrong. This myth demands Asian-Americans to meet society’s high standards and expectations in academics, careers, and personal lives.

Because Asian-Americans are painted in such a way, many of them refuse to speak about their struggles, frustrations, and problems. It is difficult on their part to admit that they, too, have insecurities and flaws. They assume that once they openly discuss their mental health struggles, their family and community will cast them aside.  

Culture and Values

One of the reasons there is a mental health stigma among Asian-Americans is because of their culture and values. They see mental health issues like depression and anxiety as an excuse for failing or being unhappy. They find no reason for someone in their family to feel sad and lonely.

If there is one thing that is admirable about Asian-Americans, is their strong family ties. With their family always there to support and guide them, it is enough for them to feel happy and satisfied. But this is not always the case. Because they fear that their family will judge and criticize them, they choose to remain silent about their mental state.

Religious and Spiritual Beliefs

Some religions practiced by Asian-Americans advocate mental health problems as a punishment by God or a lack of faith. Though many of them rely on their religion and spirituality to improve mental wellness, a number of them believe that only prayer is the answer to this kind of problem. There is no need to seek therapy near me or any medications because God is the ultimate healer.

While it is true that mental health is not openly discussed in any Asian-American households, they also avoid seeking medical help when symptoms get worse. They would rather go to confession or talk to their spiritual leader to be guided in the right direction.

Parental Pressure

Many Asian-American children have to do extremely well in their lives, in general. From getting high grades in school to landing the best-paying job, they need to constantly prove to their families that they are going to be successful. It seems that the children are fashioned not to fail and to make the whole clan proud.

Too much pressure from parents and other older relatives leads to mental health breakdowns. Not all Asian-Americans are smart or successful in life. Whenever they fail in school, it becomes a life-and-death matter to them. Some would rather end their lives than face the wrath of their parents. According to the American Psychological Association, “suicide was the second leading cause of death for Asian Americans aged 15−34. Among all Asian Americans, those aged 20−24 had the highest suicide rate.”

Lack of Education about Mental Health

The first-generation of Asian-Americans does not understand the concept of mental health wellness. They are not aware that there is a need to discuss and look after their mental health. This could be because they are all focused on working harder and making a better life for themselves in America.

Talking about their inner feelings is too personal and an invasion. Asian-American children are raised to believe that whatever they are feeling, they have to keep it to themselves and resolve it on their own. There is no need to share it with other people because it will just pass.

Mental health stigmas among Asian-Americans are still happening now. Yes, there are a lot of them who see the importance and benefits of taking care of their mental health but, some refuse to acknowledge that depression and anxiety are real.

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression or other mental health problems, never hesitate to seek out therapy near me. Mindshift Psychological Services provides therapy near me and counseling sessions to alleviate the symptoms of mental health disorders. You may visit us or contact us at (714) 584-9700 for an appointment.