Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Female Asian-American Teens Have Highest Rates of Depression New Study Says

A recent study released yesterday by the National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that Asian-American Pacific Islander female youth have the highest rates of depressive symptoms out of any other ethnic group.

 The study also found that female AAPIs between the ages of 15 and 24 are more likely to die from suicide, and that suicide is the top cause of death among Asian-American women that are 65 years of age or older.  Additionally, NAMI found that 71 percent of Southeast Asian women are more likely to suffer from disorders such as depression.

The findings are based on a November 2010 listening session that was hosted by NAMI's Multicultural Center in Los Angeles. The use of social media, ambassadors, and cultural messages were some solutions offered in the research study.

One of the reasons why suicide is so high among the global Asian community comes from the importance of the family unit over the individual. This is especially important to address since in the U.S. there is oftentimes a clash between family honor and personal freedom among APIs and their immigrant parents.

The Asian-American community must teach love and constructive criticism to their children. Public figures such as Amy Chua who continue to encourage the notion of  tough love and emotional abuse, continues the vicious connection to the high rates of suicide among the Asian-American community. Her new book called "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" states that there is nothing wrong with shaming and verbally humiliating their children on a regular basis in order for them to do well in life.

It is important for Asian-American activists and mental health programs to promote outreach resources. However, AAPIS must also reconsider the old ways and that depression does not make one crazy - it is okay to ask for help when it is needed.

- Theresa Campagna

Photo by National Alliance on Mental Illness

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