Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Suicide ideation highest with Asian American women.



Active minds is "a national non-profit organization that empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking." I came across their mental health image on a Tumblr I follow - pushing hoops with sticks - by Ayesha Siddiqi. 

An article in hardboiled, an asian pacific american publication from UC Berkley discusses the cultural context of how mental health is viewed in some Asian communities, as well as the pressure young Asian American women and girls face from their families. New American Media also has an article on the subject, A Hidden Tragedy - Mental Illness and Suicide Among Asian Americans.

I also came across an article by the American Psychological Association that says that statistic is incorrect, and that American-Indian/Alaskan Native women aged 15-24 have the highest suicide rate compared to all racial/ethnic groups. But, suicidal ideation is highest in Asian American women.

I know in a Canadian context, native women have the highest incarceration, and suicide rates. This also seems to be the case in the States.

No matter which racial or ethnic group has the highest suicide rates, it's important for white folks to be aware of the intersectionality of oppressions. If two women suffer from depression, and one of those women is white, and the other is Asian American their relationship to "seeking help" and accessing that help would be wildly different.

Financial realities. Language barriers. Ability. Cultural understandings of medicalized therapy. How many hours a week does this person work? Can they get to their appointments? Do they have insurance? Can they access services in their native language? Are there services available in their area? What about that person's relationship with the state, and with the medical system?

I good friend of mine was hospitalized against her will as a teenager, because of this she holds major distrust for certain types of medical care and mental health care.

These are all realities that we carry with us and affect our access. And access affects our ability to move away from suicidal ideation and towards seeking help. 

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