Friday, May 10, 2013

Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day 2013

 May 10

First established in 2010 by the State of California and the City & County of San Francisco, Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day recognizes the importance of raising awareness about mental health and promoting 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. These disparities indicate the critical need to raise awareness & talk about mental health, de-stigmatize seeking help, and increase access to & support culturally competent/relevant services for the Asian American & Pacific Islander community.

For more information on Asian American and Pacific Islander mental health facts, check out the NAMI Multicultural Action Center HERE.
Resolution presented by Senator Leland Yee to the CA State Senate in April 2010,
establishing Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day on May 10 statewide
"This measure would recognize May 10, 2010,
and each May 10 thereafter, as
Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day,
and acknowledge the importance of
raising awareness about mental health
in the Asian Pacific American community."

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. 
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at a RAMS event in 2011
honoring Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day

San Francisco District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar at a RAMS event in 2011
honoring Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day
RAMS is excited to announce some of the following events recognizing Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day!
May 10, 10:00am-12:00pm at Chinatown Public Health Center, 1490 Mason Street, San Francisco: A panel presentation & gathering of public officials, healthcare professionals, Bay Area local & national leaders, community advocates, stakeholder institutions/ organizations, and educators & researcherson to discuss issues of detecting and addressing mental health concerns in primary care & non-mental health care settings. Details HERE.

May 10, 8:30am - 4:30pm at St. Mary's Event Center, 1111 Gough Street, San Francisco: A training on cultural and clinical consideration in working with Filipino-Americans with mental health issues, presented by Dr. Jei Africa.  View the flyer by clicking on the image at right to enlarge (right-click and select any options to "Open").
The CAAEN Leadership Group is launching their "it's ok" campaign to bring attention to and promote awareness of mental health issues in the Asian community. Details HERE.

The city of Austin, Texas, has followed San Francisco's lead and proclaimed May 10, 2013 as Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day in Austin.  Special events have been scheduled, including this training presented by the Asian Behavioral Health Network of Austin.

Also on May 10, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and The White House Office of Public Engagement are hosting an AAPI Briefing on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health.  [UPDATE: Click HERE for the article "Raising Awareness about Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in the AAPI Community" by Larke N. Huang)
Sharing Stories About The Asian Pacific American Experience & Mental Health
Ramey Ko shared a personal & inspiring story related Asian American Mental Health, in honor of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day and the Friends Do Make A Difference campaign to raise awareness & destigmatize mental health in high school students in 2012. Mr. Ko is currently a Commission Member of the White House AAPI Initiative, and is an Associate Judge of the City of Austin Municipal Court.

Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day Over The Years
A sampling of some of the events held in previous years:
In 2012, RAMS collaborated with 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 provided and distributed messages via TV, online social media, and promotional events at high schools that focus on the importance and power of being a friend for someone facing mental health challenges.
On May 9, 2012, local public radio station KALW 91.7 FM aired a three-part series on Asian American mental health issues during the Crosscurrents news show.  RAMS is honored to have been asked to contribute and assist in the making of this noteworthy program. The entire series was heard on air at KALW 91.7FM, but is also available online at

On May 10, 2012, Hyphen Magazine wrote an article in honor of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day: AAMM (the column's author) revisits their roots and considers the impact of a mantra like "It Gets Better" in the article titled "Deciding Not To Bail".
On May 10, 2011, an all-day training event "Asian Pacific American Mental Health: Knowing Our Roots and Growing Beyond" was held in San Francisco, featuring  an esteemed panel of presenters that are recognized leaders, trailblazers, and legends in the field of mental health and working with Asian Pacific Americans.
On May 9, 2011, the College of San Mateo presented an Asian Pacific American Mental Health Awareness Panel, featuring a panel presentation from RAMS staff about the importance of mental health and culturally-competent services in the A/PI community, working in the mental health profession, as well as challenges and issues specific to the A/PI communities.
RAMS is looking forward to many more years of raising awareness about Asian Pacific American Mental Health!

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