Take Action: CA Residents, Tell Us Your Mental Health Stories

Are you a California resident who has accessed mental health services to heal from emotional trauma? Do you know someone in California who is struggling to cope with an undiagnosed mental health condition?
As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, SEARAC is excited to launch our SEARAC Mental Health Story Collection – California campaign to identify gaps in mental health services and develop community-defined policy solutions.
Southeast Asian refugees fled Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam to escape war, genocide, and persecution. Almost 45 years later, Southeast Asian American refugees, immigrants, and families are still struggling to heal from the war and resettlement trauma. By contributing your story today, you’ll help us advocate for the urgent need for culturally and linguistically competent mental health services.
Your story will also help convey to California state legislators why they should support Assembly Bill 512: Cultural Competence in Mental Health, a bill that SEARAC is co-sponsoring. Additionally, your experience will be used to inform a larger statewide #Care4MyCulture campaign, which seeks to improve cultural competence in California’s mental health delivery system.
The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete. Please complete this form in one sitting. You may skip any questions you do not want to answer. You can stop completing this form at any point.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this campaign or your participation, you may contact SEARAC Policy Associate Lee Lo at lee@searac.org.

Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month by Demanding Culturally Competent Mental Health Services for AAPIs

May is both Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. As we commemorate and celebrate how Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have continued to enrich the United States with their deep histories, resilience, and cultures, we must also actively demand for our right to thrive as well as our liberation.

Due to cultural stigma and the lack of culturally and linguistically competent mental health services, many Asian Americans live with undiagnosed and untreated mental health disorders. The California Department of Health Care Services reports that in fiscal year 2016-2017, AAPI adults are the least likely racial group to access specialty mental health services even once, with just 2% of the population accessing care. Southeast Asian Americans, in particular, experience higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges, compared to the general population.


Mental Health Awareness Spotlight 

Under the current Administration, many immigrants and refugees are fearful of the consequences of holding a particular documentation status.

Silath Saopadith celebrates successfully naturalizing as a citizen through the support of FIRM’s Citizenship/Civics Program

Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM) has seen a 300-400% increasein clients seeking immigration-related services since the inauguration of President Donald Trump in 2017.1 One such community member is Silath Saopadith, 55, who immigrated to the United States more than 12 years ago and has struggled to obtain his citizenship due to the lack of culturally and linguistically competent services. Mr. Saopadith shares the impact of FIRM’s multilayered culturally and linguistically competent services to support obtaining his citizenship and improving his mental health:

“When there is someone that looks like me, I am able to open up a bit more. I’ve been in the states for 12 years, and I’ve never been able to open up about my past or ask anyone for help. Before coming to FIRM, I had a high stress level, [was] afraid of deportation, [and had] language barriers, so everything was working against me. After a few years coming to FIRM, the staff was able to help me reduce those symptoms and also make me feel safe. … I come to FIRM two or three times a week for help. Without their support, I don’t know where I would be.”

Culturally and linguistically competent mental health services are lifesaving, but mental health services in California have not been doing enough to serve our SEAA community. 


TAKE ACTION: 

Support our sponsored mental health CA bill by telling us your mental health story

SEARAC is excited to launch our SEARAC Mental Health Story Collection – California campaign to identify gaps in mental health services and help develop community-defined policy solutions for the SEAA community.
Contribute your story today on the mental health needs of the Southeast Asian American community and help us advocate for the urgent need for culturally and linguistic competent mental health services!
Your story will also help convey to California state legislators why they should support Assembly Bill 512: Cultural Competence in Mental Health and will be used to inform a larger statewide #Care4MyCulture campaign, which seeks to improve cultural competence in California’s mental health delivery system.

 

REFERENCE

1. FIRM is a faith-based nonprofit organization that provides culturally and linguistically competent education, naturalization, health navigation, and mental health services to refugees of SEAA, Slavic, and African origin.

SEARAC Co-Sponsors CA Legislation to Improve Cultural Competence in Mental Health

 

Southeast Asian Americans experience high rates of PTSD, depression, and anxiety

SACRAMENTO, CA – SEARAC has taken on the effort to co-sponsor California Assembly Bill (AB) 512 – Cultural Competence in Mental Health alongside the California Pan-Ethnic Health NetworkSteinberg InstituteLatino Coalition for a Healthy California, and California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network. AB 512 will improve county cultural competence plans and utilize both evidence-based and community-defined practices to address the mental health conditions of California’s diversity.

Due to war, genocide, and displacement, Southeast Asian Americans (SEAAs) experience particularly higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges compared to the general population.1,2 However, many SEAA refugees remain undiagnosed and untreated due to the cultural stigma and lack of culturally and linguistically competent mental health services. The California Department of Health Care Services reports that in fiscal year 2016-2017, “Asian and Pacific Islander” adults are the least likely racial group to access specialty mental health services even once, with just 2% of the population obtaining care. The high level of need for – and low utilization of – mental health services is alarming. When emotional wounds are left unhealed, the pain carries over to children and future generations in a cycle of intergenerational trauma.
On March 26, California Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-19) introduced AB 512 in the California Assembly Health Committee. Yia Xiong, director assistant of the Hmong Cultural Center of Butte County, SEARAC partner, and former LAT alumnus, testified on how AB 512 will lead to more culturally and linguistically competent mental health services, providing “access [to] lifesaving care to finally end the war that [SEAAs] relive everyday.”
Yia shares, “The Hmong Cultural Center of Butte County has participated in the county’s cultural competence committee for many years. … These engagements have yet to create concrete strategies to address mental health for the Hmong community due to the lack of oversight the cultural competence committee has regarding the county’s cultural competence plan.”
“Mental health services that are not culturally and linguistically appropriate to the SEAA community, communities of color, and LGBTQ+ community are not serving our communities and can lead to further stress and anxiety,” says Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “We must hold counties accountable to provide culturally and linguistically competent mental health services for our families. Our community deserves the right to self-determination to address mental health conditions and to heal today so future generations won’t have to heal our trauma for us.”
With the powerful testimonial by Hmong Cultural Community Center of Butte County, and the ongoing advocacy efforts by community organizations across California, AB 512 passed unanimously, 15-0, out of the Assembly Health Committee and will head into the Assembly Appropriations Committee for a fiscal analysis. To view the hearing on AB 512, please start the video at 7:00.
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Contacts:
Nkauj Iab Yang | (916) 346-4463 | nkaujiab@searac.org
Lee Lo | (916) 428-7769 lee@searac.org