May is AAPINH Month

Every May, the U.S. observes Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) month to celebrate and recognize the contributions of AANHPI people to our culture and communities. This is also a time to pay special attention to the mental health and well-being of AANHPI individuals. Almost one third of the nation’s Asian American (AA) population lives in California. California also has more native Hawaiians and people from many of the Pacific Islands than any other state in the contiguous US.  

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Asian American, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders face unique barriers to behavioral health care including: 

  • Language barriers make it difficult for Asian Americans to access behavioral health services 
  • Mental health stigma and cultural conceptualizations of behavioral health within Asian American communities can reduce help-seeking 
  • Perceived lower need of mental health care among Asian Americans compared to other racial and ethnic groups 
  • Provider shortage of clinicians with diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds 
  • Lack of culturally competent providers to meet cultural, social, and language-related needs 

May 10 marks Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Mental Health Day, thanks to a Congressional Resolution introduced by Rep. Judy Chu
(CA-28) a psychologist and chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. 

To learn more about other ways to support the AANHPI community, see the resources available from the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs (CAPIAA), which advises the Governor and the Legislature on how to best respond to views, needs, and concerns of the state’s diverse and complex APIA communities.