Asian American Federation
Special Projects Fund
$150,000 (2021); $200,000 (2019)
January 2020–June 2022
In New York City, Asian Americans are the only racial group for which suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes of death.
Only 2% of Asian Americans report symptoms of depression to their doctor, compared with a 13% national average. Mental illness is often overlooked and undiagnosed in the Asian-American community, and cultural stigma and a lack of culturally- and linguistically- competent service providers creates barriers to care.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, rising xenophobia, social isolation, and the stressors of financial and food insecurity and housing shortages contributed to the mental health burden of a large proportion of Asian New Yorkers. The political climate, as well as xenophobic rhetoric tied to the pandemic, led to an increase in incidents of bias and violence targeted at the Asian community. The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism noted an 883% increase in hate crimes against Asians in New York City between 2019 and 2021.
Victims of racially motivated incidents or crimes may experience fear and shock, followed by anger, anxiety, depression, social isolation, and helplessness. Members of targeted groups may also experience mental health burdens even if they have not been personally attacked, and those who want to seek help may lack access to linguistically and culturally appropriate mental health services.
NYHealth awarded grants to the Asian American Federation (AAF) to raise awareness about the mental health needs of Asian New Yorkers, increase access to community-appropriate care, and support the Hope Against Hate campaign, which helped connect members of the Asian community in New York City with recovery support and mental health services.