Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Improving Mental Health Services for Asian Americans in New York

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

October 1, 2019








In New York City, Asian Americans are the only racial group for which suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes of death.

In New York State, suicide is the third leading cause of death for Asian Americans ages 15–34. Even though a higher percentage of Asian-American teens, young adults, and seniors report experiencing depressive symptoms compared with their non-Asian counterparts, Asian Americans are less likely to seek and receive care as a result of cultural stigma, insurance limits, and/or a dearth of culturally and linguistically competent service providers. With NYHealth support, the Asian American Federation of New York (AAF) identified the mental health issues and barriers to care affecting New York City’s pan-Asian community, along with policy recommendations to address these needs. In 2019, NYHealth awarded AAF a second grant to implement its recommendations for increasing linguistically and culturally competent mental health services tailored to Asian-American communities in New York City.

Under this grant, AAF worked to increase access to mental health services for Asian New Yorkers through community education, cultural competency trainings, and shared mental health resources. AAF organized a series of cultural competency trainings and forums for mainstream mental health providers to deepen awareness and understanding of the mental health needs of Asian New Yorkers. To reach Asian New Yorkers, AAF launched a community education series to increase awareness of mental health as a health concern in the pan-Asian community. It conducted outreach to students, parents, faith leaders, and other community members to ensure that all Asian communities have knowledge of and access to the education events. AAF convened a roundtable group to foster greater collaboration among nonprofits and community resources involved in mental health work in Asian-American communities. This roundtable shared emerging concerns in the Asian community, resources and best practices to meet identified needs, and examples of existing culturally competent program models that can be replicated. Additionally, a database of culturally and linguistically competent mental health providers for the Asian community were created to improve resource sharing. Finally, AAF implemented an advocacy strategy to win the support of policymakers, funders, and the general public to build mental health services for Asian New Yorkers.