CAPAC Members Observe National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Jul 1, 2022

Washington, D.C. — Today, on the first day of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month — which brings awareness to the struggles racial and ethnic minorities, including Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs), face when seeking care and support regarding mental illnesses — Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

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

“Disparities in health care for minority groups extend to mental health as well — and, in recent years, have been exacerbated due to the hardships and challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 crisis, which have particularly affected Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. Mental health is health care, and it is incredibly important we prioritize and invest in critical care, support and resources for communities all across the nation. Last year, I was proud to reintroduce the Stop Mental Health Stigma in Our Communities Act, which would curb mental health stigma in the AANHPI community. This National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, alongside my CAPAC colleagues, I am renewing calls for this Congress to pass this landmark legislation to better improve mental health outcomes and dismantle care barriers for AANHPIs communities nationwide.”

CAPAC First Vice Chair Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06):

"National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is an important time when we highlight the unique hardships that minority groups face in combating mental illness and accessing care. It is paramount that we prioritize access and treatment for mental health issues in our minority communities. Last year, I introduced a bill that would help our community health centers hire qualified mental health professionals that can provide care in culturally competent and linguistically accessible ways. My bill would help bridge the gap in accessible mental health care for those with limited English proficiency. This is not a month-long fight, but a year-round fight. Mental health has been a growing issue for decades and has only been exasperated by the hardships of the pandemic and even more so for many minority communities. We must continue fighting for and recognizing the need for quality mental health care, for minorities and all Americans!”

Rep. Al Green (TX-09):

“As we observe National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month this July, it is imperative to continue raising awareness of the unique health challenges facing underserved, minority populations across our nation. No one’s wellbeing should suffer due to lack of access to mental health services or stigmatization of mental illness. Together with my CAPAC colleagues, I am committed to eliminating health disparities that exist in racial as well as ethnic minority communities, including the AAPI community, and addressing their health-related needs. Access to health care and mental health services saves lives.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17):

“As we mark Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, I stand with my CAPAC colleagues in fighting to dismantle barriers to quality mental health care for Black, brown, AAPI, and Indigenous communities. Mental health care is a human right, not a luxury. It should be affordable and available to all.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13):

Due to rampant racism, xenophobia, and bigotry in reaction to COVID-19 falsehoods, the AANHPI community has faced heightened discrimination and violence in America since 2020. The toll this has taken on mental health among AANHPI Americans cannot be quantified. At the same time, COVID has widened the health disparity that AANHPIs face in receiving adequate care. Today, as we recognize the Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, Congress must recommit to dismantling the barriers that prevent people from receiving affordable, accessible​,and equitable mental health care. As a former psychiatric social worker, I am proud to join my CAPAC colleagues to fight for greater mental health infrastructure for all people, including AANHPI, Black, Latino, Indigenous, and BIPOC communities.”

Rep. Michael F.Q. San Nicholas (Guam):

“No greater awareness is needed than the fact that our U.S. Territories, which possess the highest minority densities in the country, is statutorily denied Supplemental Security Income. SSI is a staple of American decency, afforded in all States but excluded in all Territories, effectively denying baseline resources to support the most minorities most in need. The remedy for this has firmly been established by the Supreme Court to rest with the Congress, we have introduced HR 157 to address this, and as long as this disparity exists, we will effectively be ignoring the single greatest way to bring the most impactful mental health relief to the most minorities. SSI for Territories now!

Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31):

“This Minority Mental Health Awareness month, I join my CAPAC colleagues in acknowledging that disparities in mental health care disproportionately affect minority communities. As we continue to confront our nation’s mental health crisis, it is critical that we invest resources to reduce the negative stigma around these issues. This month presents us with the opportunity to highlight the barriers to care that minority communities face and recommit to providing equitable health care to minority communities.”

Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24):

“July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This month, we recognize the disparity in access to mental health resources that minority communities face, as well as the cultural stigma that prevents individuals from seeking help. We can do better. Together we must make clear that asking for help is an act of strength and self-care and continue to fight for more mental health resources that are accessible and inclusive for all.”

Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09):

“In May, we celebrated National Mental Health Awareness Month to raise awareness of the mental health challenges folks across the country experience, and in July we recognize the mental health disparities that minority groups struggle with. The AAPI community and other minority groups face barriers to accessing culturally and linguistically appropriate health care, and we must work harder to reduce these barriers. That’s why I’m proud to support community-based organizations in Washington’s Ninth District and across the country that provide culturally sensitive health care services to address the unique needs of the individuals they serve. I recently secured $2.2 million in this year’s House appropriations bill for Sea Mar Community Health Centers in my district, which will help increase access to affordable and equitable health care. I firmly believe that Congress must continue to leverage federal dollars in support of these organizations to expand access to much needed mental health care and reduce the disproportionate burden on the AAPI community and other minority groups across the country.”