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Am Psychol. 2012 Oct;67(7):532-44. doi: 10.1037/a0028900.

Asian American mental health: a call to action.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Palo Alto University, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA. ssue@paloaltou.edu

Abstract

The U.S. Surgeon General's report Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity--A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001) was arguably the best single scholarly contribution on the mental health of ethnic minority groups in the United States. Over 10 years have now elapsed since its publication in 2001. This article highlights advances and illuminates gaps in the knowledge gained about the mental health and psychotherapeutic treatment of Asian Americans in the past decade. Though larger epidemiological surveys point to lower prevalence rates of mental illness in Asian Americans, further advances are needed in culturally valid assessment and quantification of cultural biases in symptom reporting in order to draw definitive conclusions about the state of Asian American mental health. A focus on prevalence in Asian Americans as a whole also shrouds important subgroup elevations such as heightened suicide risk in Asian elderly women or greater posttraumatic stress disorder in Southeast Asian refugees. Despite important developments in our knowledge about mental health prevalence, help-seeking behaviors, and culturally competent treatments for Asian Americans, it appears that troublingly low rates of service utilization still remain even when one accounts for the seemingly low prevalence rates among Asian Americans. Some progress has been made in the cultural adaptations of psychotherapy treatments for Asian Americans. In order to reduce mental health care disparities, greater efforts are needed to provide outreach at the community level and to bridge the gap between mental health and other medical or alternative health facilities. We call for innovation and provide recommendations to address these issues in the next decade.

PMID:
23046304
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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