Friday, May 4, 2012

Honoring Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day on May 10th

SAN FRANCISCO – Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. (RAMS) is proudly joining many others in the community to honor “Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day” on May 10th, as first established in 2010 by the State of California and the City & County of San Francisco, to recognize the importance of raising awareness about mental health and promote mental wellness in the Asian Pacific American community.

Approximately 25% of Americans in a given year are impacted by mental health conditions regardless of gender, age, race, religion and socioeconomic status, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  Asian & Pacific Islanders (A&PIs) specifically make up one of the fastest growing ethnic communities in the United States, yet they have the lowest rates of utilization of mental health services among ethnic populations, which may be due to the substantial stigma that exists (since many individuals and families remain in denial or silence about their situation) as well as cultural & linguistic isolation of the community, family, and individual.  A&PI girls have the highest rate of depressive symptoms of any racial/ethnic or gender groups, according to a study released by the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI, February 2011).  A&PI women ages 15-24 have also been shown to have a higher rate of suicide than Caucasians, African Americans and Latinos in that age group (Center for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics).  According to another study, A&PI college students report higher levels of depressive symptoms than white students (NAMI 2011).  These disparities indicate the critical need to raise awareness & talk about mental health, de-stigmatize seeking help, and increase access to & support culturally competent services for the Asian American & Pacific Islander community.

In the honoring of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day in 2012, RAMS is pleased to be collaborating with the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA), and its partner interTrend Communications, in their national Friends DO Make a Difference campaign.  This creative and collaborative outreach effort will provide and distribute messages that focus on the importance and power of being a friend for someone facing mental health challenges. This project grew out of the successful What A Difference A Friend Makes campaign, created by the US Department of Health and Human Service’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  With the support and encouragement of SAMHSA, this project has tailored the message, art work and approach of the SAMHSA campaign to make it relevant to Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) students.  RAMS will focus on outreach to the youth population and help to pilot this project among high school students in San Francisco.   
Please join us at a special event on this day.

WHEN: Thursday, May 10th from 9:30am to 10:30am

WHERE: George Washington High School, 600 32nd Ave, San Francisco

WHAT: Join public officials, school district representatives, Bay Area local & national leaders, community advocates, stakeholder organizations/institutions, educators, and youth who will gather to recognize Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day and learn about the Friends DO Make a Difference campaign

HOSTS:
Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc.

National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA), a non-profit organization with the mission to promote the mental health and well being of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

George Washington High School, a four-year comprehensive San Francisco public high school dedicated to the philosophy that every student entering its halls has the right to an education to maximize his/her potential

Click HERE to view & download the press release.

Email info@ramsinc.org for more information.

The establishment of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day was an effort spearheaded by RAMS along with California State Senator Leland Y. Yee, Ph.D. and San Francisco Board of Supervisor (District 1) Eric Mar.  It was overwhelmingly supported by many major associations and community coalitions.  Since May is already established nationally as the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and as Mental Health Awareness Month, institution of this day in the month of May more closely aligns both awareness efforts. 

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