CAPAC Members Commemorate AANHPI Mental Health Day

May 10, 2022 Issues: Healthcare

Washington, D.C. — Today, May 10, marks Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Mental Health Day,  which falls during both Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. AANHPI Mental Health Day promotes awareness of mental health issues that are unique to the AANHPI community. To recognize the day, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27):

“Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Mental Health Day serves as an important reminder that our work in destigmatizing and improving access to mental health care is just beginning. The AANHPI community is among the fastest growing and most diverse racial groups in the United States and yet only 23.3% of AANHPI adults with a mental illness were able to receive treatment in 2019. More alarmingly, suicide is the leading cause of death for Asian or Pacific Islander youth ages 15-24. As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am committed to addressing the stigma, barriers, and disparities that keep the AANHPI community from accessing quality and affordable behavioral health care, such as the need for translation services, or lack of access to health insurance, which is why I have introduced a Resolution with Reps. Kahele, Matsui, and Strickland to recognize May 10, 2022 as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Mental Health Day. So, let today be a call for our community and allies to advocate for policies that increase the accessibility of mental health care services for AANHPI communities across the nation.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice-Chair:

"On Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Mental Health Day, we recognize the health disparities, limited access to treatment, and the cultural stigmas surrounding mental health within the AANHPI community. The coronavirus pandemic resulted in isolation, economic insecurity, and deaths of loved ones that have severely impacted our community’s mental health. We must prioritize breaking down the stigmas around mental health care, as well as strengthen our healthcare infrastructure to provide care that is culturally appropriate and linguistically accessible. That is why I introduced a bill to ensure our community health centers have the resources necessary to hire mental health professionals who can provide in-language services and culturally competent care to our community members. Rest assured, I will continue to fight in Congress for everyone in the AANHPI community to have access to mental health services." 

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“Today, on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Mental Health Day, we recommit to breaking down the barriers to mental health care for the AANHPI community. Throughout the COVID pandemic, we’ve seen a staggering increase in hate and violence toward the AAPI community. According to Stop AAPI Hate, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 339% in 2021. AAPI adults are the racial group least likely to seek mental health services – a direct consequence of structural barriers such as language barriers and the lack of awareness of available resources. On AANHPI Mental Health Day, we recommit to eliminating these barriers and making mental health care more accessible for everyone in the AANHPI community.”

Senator Mazie Hirono (HI):

“Everyone deserves high-quality, affordable mental health care. However, seeking, affording, or accessing this critical care is incredibly difficult, especially for members of the AANHPI community. In 2019, AANHPI communities had the lowest rate of mental health treatment of any racial or ethnic populations, with nearly 77 percent of AANHPIs with mental illness not receiving treatment. On AANHPI Mental Health Day, we reaffirm our commitment to invest in mental health resources, combat the stigma surrounding mental health, and break down barriers that prevent too many AANHPIs from receiving the care they need and deserve.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07):

“As we mark AANHPI Mental Health Day today, let us remember that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have traditionally faced higher stigma around mental health and substance issues. And following a grueling pandemic in which we tragically saw an unforgivable rise in hate crimes targeting our Asian American community, it is important now more than ever that we destigmatize mental health care. Nobody should suffer in silence. Mental health care is health care, and our communities should feel empowered to get and receive the care they deserve.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17):

“For too long, the AANHPI community has been denied the health care they need because of a lack of insurance coverage, language barriers, stigma, and other disparities. The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder of the persistent inequalities in our healthcare system, including for mental health services. On AANHPI Mental Health Day, I stand with my CAPAC colleagues in fighting to expand high-quality, affordable mental health care for AANHPI communities across the country.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13):

“AANHPI Mental ​Health Day is an opportunity to recommit to the need to implement policies that address the specific needs of AANHPI people and invest in health care, including mental health services. We know that systemic racism is rooted in the mental health challenges our communities face and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the life-threatening barriers to care that stigma and discrimination have caused. We must ensure our policy priorities reflect compassion, cultural competence, and dismantle bigotry and hatred, especially to deliver quality and equitable mental health services for vulnerable communities.”

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10):

“On AANHPI Mental Health Day we recognize the unique challenges, trauma, and identity struggles that members of this community face. While 15 percent of the AANHPI community currently report facing mental health issues, this number is growing, especially among younger AANHPI. We must uplift the AANHPI community by investing in more mental health resources.”

Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04):

"On this Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Mental Health Day, I’m pleased to join my colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to stand up for mental health. Amid the recent rise in hate crimes, we must work to dismantle the many barriers to care. I look forward to continuing my work with Nevada’s AAPI community to make compassionate, culturally competent mental health care available to all.”

Congressman David Trone (MD-06):

“As we recognize National Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Mental Health Day, we must redouble our efforts to stop the stigma surrounding mental health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the AANHPI community has lowest help-seeking rate of any racial or ethnic group. This should serve as a wake up call for folks in positions of leadership to take meaningful action, including Congress. Alongside my colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I pledge to work with anyone and everyone willing to address this vital issue and help save lives. We can always do better.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):

“As we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, today we recognize Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Mental Health Day to bring attention to the unique mental health challenges that the AANHPI community faces. The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a mental health crisis across the country and the AANHPI community has been disproportionately affected. To make matters worse, AANHPI community members often have a harder time receiving linguistically accessible and culturally aware health care. I’m grateful for community-based health organizations in Washington’s Ninth District and across the country that work to provide tailored health care services to individuals and families, regardless of circumstances. In Congress, we must do more to support these vital organizations to advance the health and well-being of all our community members. May today shine a light on the mental health barriers the AANHPI community faces and serve as a catalyst for action to tackle this crisis.”