Skip to content

    Mental Health Center

    Font Size

    Asian-Americans Tackle Mental Health Stigma


    In the U.S., an estimated 18.2 million people claim full or partial Asian descent, according to government figures. This group of people is diverse, ranging from fifth-generation Japanese to newcomers from India.

    Estimates vary, but one recent study found Asian-Americans face a 17.3% lifetime chance of getting a psychiatric disorder, including depression. Although that rate was lower than among other minorities, the study called mental health among Asian-Americans a growing public health concern, given the stigma around treatment and barriers to getting it.

    Asian Americans are less likely than whites to mention their mental health concerns to:

    • A friend or relative (12% vs. 25%)
    • A mental health professional (4% vs. 26%)
    • A physician (2% vs. 13 %)

    Studies of Asian-American college students have found that they had higher rates of depression than white students, and they showed the most distress at the time they sought counseling compared to all racial groups.

    Suicide poses another hidden problem. It is the 8th leading cause of death for Asian-Americans, compared to 11th for the entire U.S. population. And the suicide rate of 11.6 per 100,000 for Asian women 65 and older is more than double that of white women.

    “Mental health is a significant and unaddressed issue,” says Brian Gee, executive chair of the National Asian Pacific Islander American Panhellenic Association, a fraternity and sorority group engaged in the college partnership.

    Today on WebMD

    Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
    man screaming
    Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
    woman looking into fridge
    When food controls you.
    Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
    senior man eating a cake
    woman reading medicine warnings
    depressed young woman
    man with arms on table
    man cringing and covering ears

    WebMD Special Sections