Denver, Colorado, May 16, 2016. May is both Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. In honor of this double celebration, the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, NAAPIMHA, would like to recognize the importance of both events. NAAPIMHA firmly believes that respecting our cultural heritage is critical to the emotional wellbeing of our communities. Mental health is also a part of our everyday lives. It is impacted by how we see ourselves and are seen by others. Immigration, fair housing, gainful employment, quality education, equal pay for equal work are mental health issues. Discrimination whether based on racism, xenophobia, sexism, lack of respect for differences in sexual orientation, religious beliefs or the stigma surrounding mental health problems all have a negative impact on the emotional wellbeing of our community and should not be tolerated. This month is an opportunity for each of us to look at ways we can improve the mental health of AANHPIs in all parts of the country.
Many AANHPIs have experienced severe trauma resulting in increased levels of post- traumatic stress disorder, depression and thoughts of suicide. For some, the problems may be relatively short lived. For others, the problems can be quite severe. Whether a person experiences minor depression or is diagnosed with schizophrenia, major depression or bi-polar disorders it is important to remember that people can and do get better and seeking help is not a sign of weakness. The greatest tragedy is not in experiencing a mental health problem but lies in not being able to get the help when it is needed.
Mental Health is also finding the joy in embracing our cultural heritage, of being proud of who we are, and celebrating our differences and the things that make us unique. It is recognizing that we all have something to offer regardless of our cultural heritage, languages spoken, our place of birth, our sexual orientation, social economic status or religious belief.
Please join NAAPIMHA in celebrating API Heritage and Mental Health Awareness month. We will be posting follow up information on ways to get involved and upcoming mental health legislation for AANPHIs.