More Asian-Americans Are Killing Themselves
Suicide Rate Among Asian-Americans On the Rise
DATE 18-05-11 09:58
글쓴이 : 어드민      
By Alex Kim | News Korea

Asian-Americans are often referred to as a “model minority” in the U.S. Asians are perceived to be intelligent, successful, and hardworking minority group setting the example for achieving the “American dream”.


Whether this perception carries some truth or not, these “positive stereotypes” accompany Asian-Americans from their childhood. Asian-American students are expected to excel in academics and the Asian parents have the reputations of making sure that their children meet those standards.


With a virtue of self-determination and work ethic held to its highest standard, mental distress or mental illness has no room for discussion in Asian-American families. Depression or suicidal ideation is viewed as a sign of weakness and lack of discipline amongst Asian-Americans despite the startling number of people that suffer from serious mental illnesses.


According to American Psychological Association (APA), suicide was the second-leading cause of death for Asian-Americans between the age of 15 and 34. Also, Asian-American women born in the U.S. had the highest rate of suicidal thoughts in comparison to general U.S. population.


Statistics provided by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention point out that the suicide rate for Asians/Pacific Islanders has been steadily increasing since 2013.


The topic of suicide and depression is rarely discussed in Asian-American families. Experts say many Asian families are reluctant to disclose feelings of mental distress or seek help because they correlate mental illness with shame. National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) found that Asian Americans are three times less likely to seek professional help than the whites despite having 17.30 percent overall lifetime rate of psychiatric disorder(s).


According to MaJosé Carrasco, a director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “A lot of Asians avoid seeking treatment until the disease is advanced.”


In addition, even when they reach out for professional help including medication and psychotherapy, patients are skeptical of psychotherapy as they believe it is designed for white Americans according to Associate Professor Hyeouk Chris Hahm of Boston University School of Social Work.


APA found that Asian-American college students have had suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides more than their white peers. NLAAS reported that one of the main sources of mental distress for Asian-American students is the pressure of academic achievements brought by their parents.


The rising rate of suicide and depression is not limited to young Asian-American students. In 2007, Asian-American women between the ages of 65 and 84 had the highest suicide rate among all racial backgrounds.

According to a mental health report by Palo Alto University, “Help-seeking and service utilization is lower than their representation in the U.S. population… and future research is needed to gain insights into the within-group differences among Asian Americans, cultural expressions of psychopathology, the quantification of cultural reporting biases, and innovative cultural treatments to increase service access.” The report also notes that lower utilization of mental health services does not infer lower need for the services in Asian-American families.

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