17 Mental Health Resources For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

mental health resources for asian and pacific islander communities

Verywell / Madelyn Goodnight

Mental health resources for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are essential today with the rise of hate and discrimination directed toward these communities. According to a report issued by Stop AAPI Hate, a group that works to track incidents of racially motivated harassment and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, anti-Asian hate crimes are on the rise.

Between March 19, 2020, and February 28, 2021, almost 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents were reported. These incidents included slurs, shunning, and physical assaults. More than twice as many attacks were directed toward Asian American women than toward Asian American men.

Such numbers represent acts of discrimination that have been reported—the actual numbers are likely much higher. This uptick in harassment and violence is largely attributed to the coronavirus pandemic and racist political rhetoric directed toward Asian people.

The Pew Research Center also reports that three in 10 Asian Americans have experienced racist jokes or racial slurs since the start of the pandemic.

Impact on Mental Health

This discrimination, harassment, and violence have a serious impact on the mental health and well-being of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. For example, one study found that 42% of those who had experienced discrimination had anxiety symptoms, 30% had depression symptoms, and 39% had symptoms of traumatic stress. Therefore, it is critical that these communities have access to appropriate mental health resources.

Racism and xenophobia take a serious toll on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Research has found that racism and discrimination have a significant negative impact on mental health. In addition, communities subjected to othering by the dominant racial group are prone to mental health concerns, including an increased risk for anxiety and depression.

Such othering also increases the risk of discrimination, harassment, and other hate crimes. This race-based discrimination can be overt, in the form of verbal harassment or physical attacks, but it can also take the form of microaggressions.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), people who experience hate crimes are more likely to experience:

Research has found that racial discrimination has negative physiological effects, increasing the risk of diabetes, poor cardiovascular health, high cholesterol, and obesity.

Mental Health Resources

"Asian Americans have long encountered barriers to accessing health and mental health care due to linguistic, cultural, insurance, and other barriers," explained the Asian American Psychological Association in a written statement given March 18, 2021, at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on discrimination and violence against Asian Americans.

"Fear/anticipation of future racism may prevent Asian Americans from accessing needed resources, such as health and mental health care," the statement continued. Because of this, online resources can be a particularly important tool for providing advice, support, and information on mental health for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Asian American Psychological Association 

The Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) focuses on using research, education, policy, and professional practice to advance the mental health and well-being of Asian American communities.

In addition to advocacy and research, AAPA also provides fact sheets on Asian American mental health concerns, anti-bullying information, and Asian American LGBTQ resources.

Asian Mental Health Collective

The Asian Mental Health Collective is an organization focused on de-stigmatizing mental health within Asian communities. It provides the APISAA Therapist Directory, a directory of therapists located in most states and Washington, DC who specialize in serving Asian American, South Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. 

National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association 

The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) is a resource provider for mental health services for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians. The organization provides a resource list of state-level programs designed to meet AAPI-community mental health needs.

In addition to a list of services available in all 50 states, the organization also provides links to general mental health resources.

South Asian Mental Health Initiative & Network

The South Asian Mental Health Initiative & Network (SAMHIN) is a non-profit that works to address the mental health needs of South Asian folks living in the United States.

It provides a list of mental health providers who specialize in offering services to the South Asian community. In addition, its provider directory allows you to search by languages spoken, location, and service type.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers a section of its website with resources specifically for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

In addition to providing an overview of some barriers to mental health care for members of these communities (including stigma, language barriers, and lack of culturally competent providers), NAMI also has seminars available in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese, as well as links to culturally sensitive support groups.

Asian American Health Initiative 

The Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) was created by the Maryland Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. While its mission is to improve the health and wellness of Asian Americans living in Montgomery Country, Maryland, the site also provides useful general resources in Traditional Chinese, Korean, Hindi, and Vietnamese languages.

Topics covered include getting mental health care, dealing with stress, building resilience, and staying active for well-being.

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance 

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) brings together lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations.

Its goal is to help local groups by providing education, leadership development, collaboration, and visibility to help challenge racism and anti-LGBTQ bias. It also provides a directory of Asian and Pacific Islander healers and therapists.

Social Mental Health Resources

There are also a number of great Instagram accounts that offer mental health information and resources for Asian communities. Some accounts to follow include:

A Word From Verywell

Increased racism negatively affects the mental health and wellness of Asian communities. In order to cope with the effects of this stress and racial trauma, it is important for Asian Americans to have access to resources and support systems that can help. 

In addition to the support of family, friends, and community, online resources—including online therapy and online mental health apps—can be a helpful way to support mental wellness in the face of stress and discrimination.

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6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Stop AAPI Hate. Stop AAPI Hate National Report.

  2. Pew Research Center. Many Black and Asian Americans say they have experienced discrimination amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Updated July 1, 2020.

  3. Asian American Psychological Association. Written testimony from the Asian American Psychological Association. Published March 18, 2021.

  4. Kim H, Epstein NB. Racism, stress and health in Asian Americans: A structural equation analysis of mediation and social support group differencesStress Health. 2021;37(1):103-115. doi:10.1002/smi.2979

  5. American Psychological Association. The psychology of hate crimes. Published August 2017.

  6. McMurtry CL, Findling MG, Casey LS, et al. Discrimination in the United States: Experiences of Asian AmericansHealth Serv Res. 2019;54(S2):1419-1430. doi:10.1111/1475-6773.13225