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Some studies show that Chinese-Americans have high rates of depression. In fact, one study found that the suicide rate among elderly Chinese-American women is 10 times higher than among white women. Some Asian immigrants have fled violence and turmoil, putting them at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder. The clash between mainstream culture and traditional Asian values may be stressful for Asian-American youth. Visit the mental health section of womenshealth.gov to learn the symptoms of these and other mental illnesses and how to get help.
Mental health problems and suicide
Money problems, health problems, and the loss of loved ones are all sources of stress, worry, and sadness. During stressful times, feeling sad, worried, or anxious for a little while is normal. But it's not normal to feel this way a lot of the time. Ongoing feelings of sadness and numbness can be signs of depression. Constant worrying that won't go away can be a sign of an anxiety disorder. These feelings are not just "in your head" or a sign of weakness. Mental health problems, such as anxiety and mood disorders, are real illnesses, just like diabetes or heart disease. They can cause changes in your brain and body chemistry.
Treatment can help people with mental health problems to feel better. Yet, many Asian-Americans do not get help until problems are severe. Many Asian-Americans may avoid seeking help because of the cultural stigma placed on mental illness or for fear of bringing shame to the family. In fact, the clash between mainstream culture and traditional Asian values may be stressful for Asian-American youth. In addition, some Asian-Americans cannot find services that meet their language needs or lack access to care.
Getting help is important. Unlike most disabling physical illnesses, mental illness often begins early in life. The sooner a mental health problem is discovered, the better the chance for a full recovery.
Remember: Mental illnesses are real, and treatment can help. If emotional problems are interfering with work, school, relationships, or home life, see a doctor.
Read more from womenshealth.gov
Mental Health — This section of womenshealth.gov provides information on taking care of your mental health throughout the different stages of your life.
Explore other publications and websites
Asian American/Pacific Islanders (Copyright © American Psychiatric Association) — This fact sheet discusses many of the mental health issues facing Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians in the United States today.
If You Are Considering Suicide (Copyright © American Association of Suicidology) — If you are feeling suicidal, it’s important to seek medical help right away. You are not alone. Many people have suicidal thoughts. But it’s important that depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other problems that inspire suicidal thinking are treatable. A suicidal crisis is usually temporary. Your problems do have solutions — you just can’t see them right now. This publication will tell you more about the help and hope available for people considering suicide.
Mental Health Services Locator — This website will help you locate mental health treatment facilities and support services in your state.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Brochure: When It Seems Like There Is No Hope, There Is Help — This brochure explains the warning signs of suicide and how to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help.
Connect with other organizations
American Association of Suicidology
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
National Hopeline Network
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Office of Minority Health, HHS
Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center), SAMHSA, HHS
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
Content last updated May 18, 2010.
Resources last updated May 18, 2010.
A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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