NAAPIMHA and 75+ organizations celebrate 3rd Annual Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Mental Health Day to Center Mental Health of AANHPI Communities

On May 10, 2023, NAAPIMHA, cities, elected officials, community organizations and businesses are commemorating the third annual National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Day, a national day to raise awareness around mental health in AANHPI communities. 

National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Day takes place at the intersection of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. This provides a unique opportunity to not only raise awareness around our diverse heritages and mental health, it gives us a chance to talk about how the two are directly related.  It is important to continue addressing the many mental health challenges facing Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPIs) but NAAPIMHA invites you to also join us in celebrating who we are as this TOO is mental health. 

The national resolution stands on the shoulders of mental health advocates at RAMS, Inc. in San Francisco who spearheaded the first statewide proclamation making May 10th Asian and Pacific American Mental Health Day in California in 2010. This year, the resolution will be introduced yet again in the House of Representative and a Senate companion will be introduced for the first time this year. At the state and local level, AA and NHPI mental health advocates and organizations from 37 states and cities have submitted proclamation requests. NAAPIMHA will be joined by over 75+ community partner organizations to center and support AA and NHPI mental health in communities nationwide.

According to data collected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), AA & NHPIs have the lowest help-seeking rate of any racial/ethnic group, with only 25.4% of AANHPI adults with a mental illness receiving treatment in 2021 (NSDUH, 2021). And, even though suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, it is the leading cause of death for AA & NHPI youth ages 10-24 (CDC, 2020). The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these problems as increased racial violence and discrimination against the Asian American community has increased the need for mental health services.

We believe it’s crucial that we continue to advance conversations around mental health in the AA & NHPI community to improve the quality of care for AA & NHPI communities. From mental health stigma reduction, historical discrimination, current racial violence, data disaggregation, language access, workforce development, culturally competent services, to supporting existing AA & NHPI community-driven resources and non-dominant ways of healing, we call upon Federal, State, and local health agencies to adopt laws, policies, and guidance to improve help-seeking rates for mental health services for AANHPIs and other communities of color.

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