4 Organizations Fighting For The Mental Health Of Asian Americans

“There is a powerful stigma surrounding mental illness in Asian American communities which is causing a crisis for their mental health. In a 2010 study of Asian Americans’ use of mental health services, participants said the primary factor preventing their use of mental health services was due to it being looked down on in their communities.

How exactly does this stigma against mental illness work within Asian American communities? Here’s what it looked like for me.”

Male Gender Role Stress and PTSD

“Each society has its own rules about what's considered appropriate behavior for men and women. In Western societies, men have traditionally been expected to be self-reliant, not emotional (except with regard to the expression of anger), confident and strong. This is the traditional masculine gender role. Men differ in the extent to which they follow these rules. However, some of these rules go against basic and normal human responses to stress. So it's not surprising that a number of studies have shown that men who try to strictly adhere to these rules and who fear violating these rules may be at risk for a wide range of negative outcomes including PTSD.”

Mental Health Stigma Kept this Man in the Shadows

As an Iowa community discussed the construction of a new inpatient mental health hospital in 2018, Marty Parrish responded to their stigmatizing remarks by sharing his personal story with mental health and addiction issues and the importance of inpatient treatment for his recovery. "I was always afraid of being judged because of the stigma against people with mental health," he said in a recent interview. "But after that very hostile meeting in Clive, I had to tell my story. I had to talk."

Stigma Against Gay People Can Be Deadly

The Anti-Stigma Project defines Double Stigma as: how the stigma associated with race, religion, age, sexual orientation, etc. is compounded by an additional layer of stigma related to behavioral health challenges. This article from the New York Times illustrates how stigma associated with the LGBTQIA+ experience can affect behavioral health and access to behavioral health services, and the strong psycho-social impacts of removing that stigma. Click the title to access the full article from the New York Times.

A Quiet Drug Problem Among the Elderly

“For years, geriatricians and researchers have sounded the alarm about the use of benzodiazepines among older adults… Now the opioid epidemic has generated fresh warnings, because pain relievers like Vicodin (hydrocodone with Tylenol) and OxyContin (oxycodone) are also frequently prescribed for older people. When patients take both, they’re at risk for overdosing… But fatal overdoses — which are a comparatively tiny number given the size of the older population — represent just one of many longtime concerns about these medications.”

Not the same old, same old.

"'10,000 Americans turn 65 every day. Geriatricians are in increasingly short supply. So medical schools have begun teaching all students how to care for an aging population. Tackling ageism is a big part of it. ‘You need to make sure students basically like older patients. See them as individuals worthy of love and care.'"

To improve minority mental health, research must put patients first

“One of our greatest challenges is in helping patients in minority communities live with serious mental illness. One in six U.S. adults has an illness like depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorder, but African Americans are 10 percent more likely, and Latinos 40 percent more likely, to experience serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic whites. And those minority populations are only half as likely to receive needed treatment or counseling as non-Hispanic whites. Statistics are even worse for American Indians and Alaska Natives… So how do we make a dent in these discouraging statistics? It will require a multi-pronged approach.” Click the title to access the full article from The Hill.

How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease: An Interview with Jonathan Metzl

“Before the 60s, Ionia doctors viewed schizophrenia as an illness that afflicted nonviolent, white, petty criminals, including the hospital's considerable population of women from rural Michigan… By the mid- to late-1960s, however, schizophrenia was a diagnosis disproportionately applied to the hospital's growing population of African American men from urban Detroit. Perhaps the most shocking evidence I uncovered was that hospital charts "diagnosed" these men in part because of their symptoms, but also because of their connections to the civil rights movement.” Click the title for the entire article by Psychology Today.

Mental Health Disparities: Diverse Populations

The American Psychiatric Association has compiled 9 factsheets around mental health in diverse populations, which “provide a snapshot of the current state of mental health of minority populations and some factors that may contribute to mental health disparities among these groups.”