9 Mental Health Resources for the AAPI CommunityHelp is here if you need it.
One of the biggest threats to mental health is silence. And in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community specifically, the stigma associated with talking about mental health can keep people trapped in a spiral of unspoken shame. “Within the Asian American community, [silence] is particularly problematic given the cultural values of saving face, emotional stoicism, and preserving the reputations of our parents, families, and communities,” says licensed psychologist Jenny Wang, PhD. That’s part of the reason why access to mental health resources for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, who understand this cultural context, can be especially helpful.
Despite the hesitation to talk about mental struggles, the need to speak up may be at an all-time high. In recent years, the U.S. has experienced an influx of hate crimes directed at the AAPI community, escalating anxieties and fears about conditional acceptance in the United States, explains Dr. Wang. “Asian Americans must prioritize their mental health in order to develop the cultural pride and empowerment necessary to stand up against the hate they've been subjected to for hundreds of years in this country,” she says.
A fear of speaking up or seeking mental health help can also worsen the collective mental health of a group that often experiences intergenerational trauma, she adds. “When individuals are able to name the pain that they experience, it allows them to recognize that there are steps that they can take to begin a journey of healing … but what remains unnamed often becomes suppressed or ignored, and festers like a wound for many years.”
Tending to one's mental health and learning the language and skills to externalize the hate you might be experiencing is crucial to develop the sense of cultural pride and empowerment needed to fight against injustice, says Dr. Wang. With that in mind, we've found mental health resources specifically created to help the AAPI community. These can help you pay for care, find culturally competent mental health professionals who get you, and pinpoint support groups to make you feel a little less alone.
1. Asians Do Therapy
This community aims to destigmatize therapy among Asian Americans by highlighting real stories from AAPI therapists and therapy-goers and providing info on finding a therapist who understands your culture. Their ethos centers on how culturally relevant information and resources can be “a gateway to healing.”
This confidential hotline for South Asian LGBTQ+ individuals is run entirely by South Asian LGBTQ+ support volunteers. You can call them at 908-367-3374 or email them with any questions, concerns, or if you’re just in need of someone to talk to.
3. South Asian Mental Health Initiative & Network
The non-profit SAMHIN advocates for South Asians living in the United States and aims to destigmatize talking about mental wellness in this community with their directory dedicated to professionals who serve the South Asian community—including those who speak multiple languages.
4. Asian American Psychological Association
The AAPA offers an anti-bullying guide that can help parents navigate teaching their kids how to respond to bullies and anti-AAPI hate.
5. Rest for Resistance
This healing space dedicated to uplifting people in marginalized communities, including those in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, offers group stillness practice, movement practice, and restful yoga classes via Zoom.
6. Asian Mental Health Collective
AMHC is dedicated to making mental health more accessible and approachable for Asian communities in the U.S. and internationally. In addition to hosting support groups, AMHC offers subsidized therapy through their Lotus Fund and features a directory that can help you find Asian therapists near you.
7. Asians For Mental Health
This easy-to-navigate directory helps users find AAPI-informed therapists based on your location and the languages you speak.
This Filipinx-focused directory can help you find a therapist who understands your culture and family dynamics. You can filter by price per session, insurance, specialty, gender, and more.
9. Asian Mental Health Project
AMHP can help you feel less alone with their weekly virtual check-ins “for folks to learn from educators in mental health and wellness, as well as unpack feelings regarding current events.” These events sometimes feature mental health pros.
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