By Amanda Cruz
The “year of the rabbit” in 2023 began with multiple acts of gun violence impacting California’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Two mass shootings, first in Monterrey Park on lunar new year’s eve and then in Half Moon Bay have left people searching for answers. Traumatic events like these are all too common nationwide, and coping with them can be very difficult, especially for those impacted directly. At the same time, Asians are the racial group in America least likely to access care than any other group. It’s critical that we do everything we can to ensure that our AAPI community has the mental health support needed to cope with these events.
In a report for ABC 10 in Sacramento, reporter Kandace Redd provides insight on both structural and cultural barriers to mental health care facing the Asian community. On the cultural side, stigma about mental illness among AAPI communities can cause people to neglect their mental health. On the structural front, issues like insufficient resources for multi-lingual communities or the high cost of services block access to mental health care.
She also aims to encourage Asian Americans to seek out support. From her report:
“When a crisis strikes, remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. If you have strong feelings that won’t go away or if you are troubled for longer than four to six weeks, health experts say you may want to seek professional help.”-Kandace Redd
There is much advocacy work to be done to address the cultural and structural issues facing AAPI mental health, but right now what matters most is coming together to support one another.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis please call or text 988, the national Suicide & Crisis lifeline, for 24/7 support.
*The Chinatown Service Center’s behavioral health team is offering on call support at 213–808–1700 or visit: https://www.cscla.org/_files/ugd/1ab342_7dc630fd1b4d4749b63bb77423666ae0.pdf
*The Asian Mental Health Collective has a U.S. therapist directory with professionals who specialize in serving the AAPI community: https://www.asianmhc.org/therapists-us/
*The Asian Mental Health Collective also has a range of free mental health support groups: https://www.asianmhc.org/amhc-support-groups/
*The AAPI Equity Alliance has put together a resource directory for those in need of trauma support: https://aapiequityalliance.org/support-for-monterey-park/
*NAMI California’s list of AAPI mental health resources: https://namica.org/resources/asian-pacific-islander-resources/
*The Asians For Mental Health Therapist Directory: https://asiansformentalhealth.com/
*The California Victims Compensation Board reimburses mental health services for victims and their families: https://victims.ca.gov/for-victims/
*Changing Tides, part of the Little Tokyo Service Center, offers stipends for AAPI youth seeking therapy: https://thechangingtides.org/