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星期二, 5月 17, 2016

Reps. Chu and Napolitano Introduce Bill to End Mental Health Stigma in AAPI Community

Reps. Chu and Napolitano Introduce Bill to End Mental Health Stigma in AAPI Community

Washington, D.C. – On Friday, May 13, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, introduced legislation to curb mental health stigma in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. H.R.5234, the Stop Mental Health Stigma in Our Communities Act, instruct the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide outreach and education strategies for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community by partnering with local advocacy and behavioral health organizations that have an established record of serving AAPIs. These strategies will increase awareness of symptoms of mental illness common among AAPI populations, provide linguistically and culturally appropriate interventions, and encourage individuals and communities to use a comprehensive, public health approach when addressing mental and behavioral health.

Today, Reps. Chu and Napolitano co-hosted a briefing on AAPIs and mental health issues as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Mental Health Month to address the lack of federal resources targeted at reducing stigma surrounding mental health in the AAPI community. AAPIs are the fastest growing ethnic minority population in the United States, but According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s National Healthcare Quality Report and the National Healthcare Disparities ReportAAPIs are the least likely to seek out mental health services, contributing to the stigma surrounding mental and behavioral health disorders in the AAPI community. This briefing highlighted the importance of discussing the mental health needs of the AAPI community, and the disparities that currently exist in information

Reps. Chu and Napolitano released the following statements:

“Because of the stigma associated with mental illness, those who suffer do not seek help, and instead suffer in silence. This is exacerbated by the pervasive myth that AAPIs are a ‘model minority’ that do not suffer from mental and behavioral disorders. As a result, there is a lack of accurate information about mental health conditions, symptoms, treatments, and support. We therefore see glaring disparities,” said Rep. Chu. “For instance, Asian American women over the age of 65 have the highest suicide rate among women of the same age in the United States. This is unacceptable. This bill and today’s briefing and panel discussion on the issues of stigma and access to care within the AAPI community are crucial steps towards properly addressing this issue within our community and creating a dialogue about the importance of mental health. Through messaging and outreach that reflect the unique cultural and language needs of our community, we can save lives and get individuals the help they deserve.”

“Mental illness truly knows no boundaries and continues to affect everyone in every segment of society,” Rep. Napolitano said. “We are so grateful to partner with Chairwoman Chu and other members of CAPAC to bring awareness to the needs of the AAPI community and work together to bridge gaps in access and availability to mental health services for all Asian Americans. Together we are bringing visibility to mental health and fighting to end stigma, so those in need know it is always okay to ask for help.”

Briefing participants included
·         Myron Quon, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse,
·         DJ Ida, Executive Director, National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association,  
·         Marla Hendriksson, Director of the Office of Communications of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and
·         Diane Narasaki, Executive Director of Asian Counseling and Referral Service.

The text of H.R. 5234, the Stop Mental Health Stigma in Our Communities Act, can be found here.