AAPI Cultural Competency Fast Facts [Video]
The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the United States has experienced increased discrimination and violence since the Covid-19 pandemic originated in China in 2019. Even as pandemic restrictions are lifted, and life approaches a "new normal," anti-Asian sentiment continues to rise.
In 2021, this country saw a 339% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes compared to 2020. One-third of Asian Americans say they have changed their routines due to fear of potential violence. And at least 70% say they feel discriminated against. However, about one-third of Americans remain unaware of the increased violence toward the AAPI community. In fact, AAPIs battle with invisibility in American media and culture, with over 50% of Americans unable to name a prominent Asian American.
Mental Health & Stigma
Out of all racial and ethnic groups, AAPIs are the least likely to feel they belong and are accepted in the US. They are also the least likely to seek support and care for mental illness. Barriers to mental healthcare include systemic barriers, such as insufficient research and data on AAPI mental health or a lack of medical interpreters and culturally responsive care. But for AAPIs, stigma or "loss of face" is often the strongest impediment to seeking help for emotional and psychological concerns. Stigma can be especially powerful in Asian cultures, where mental illness may be considered a taboo topic and source of shame for individuals and their families.
Be An Ally
Here are some culturally-competent ways you can support the AAPI community and help reduce the stigma associated with mental healthcare.
- Learn and share stories about prominent Asian Americans: Increase the visibility of AAPIs in American culture by supporting Asian-American content, including podcasts, books, TV, and movies. Consider donating to AAPI political campaigns and community funds.
- Address your own implicit bias: Everyone has implicit biases, and stereotypes about Asians are especially prevalent in American culture. You may unconsciously associate Asian Americans with stereotypical traits that distort your perception of individuals and situations. Implicit bias training provides a person-centered framework for recognizing and overcoming bias.
- Support research and data collection in the AAPI community: The AAPI community is the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the US, and is projected to be the largest minority group by 2060. But a lack of research and data in healthcare, education, employment, and poverty makes it difficult to identify and address AAPI needs.
- Work to reduce the stigma associated with mental healthcare: Stigma leads to discrimination and creates a significant barrier to accessing mental health services. Talking openly and with compassion about mental healthcare and treating mental illness with the same level of concern as physical illness are effective ways to reduce stigma.