Category Behavioral Health

Bringing Greater Awareness to AANHPI Behavioral Health

By: Larke N. Huang, Ph.D., Director, SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity and Victoria Chau, Ph.D., M.P.H., Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity, and Office of Policy, Planning and Innovation

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) often are the least likely of the racial and ethnic groups to seek mental health care. Research indicates that they do not seek mental health services due to risk factors like lack of insurance, not knowing where to find appropriate services, cultural norms, language barriers, and negative attitudes towards seeking help. Even as one of the fastest growing minority populations, AANHPIs are a population often overlooked in national discussions of mental health, especially the mental health of AANHPI boys and men.

In recognition of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, SAMHSA has developed two briefs on the behavioral health of AANHPI boys and young men:

With the goal to reach behavioral health equity, these issue briefs include essential information such as:

  • Ethnic-specific data and information—when available—on depression, suicide, schizophrenia, substance use and misuse and help-seeking attitudes and behaviors. Also included are social determinants of behavioral health, such as involvement in the criminal justice system and racial micro aggressions.
  • An overview of selected programs that address behavioral health disparities among AANHPI boys and young men, and effective tools and best practices for stakeholders.

AANHPIs are not only underserved but are underrepresented in mental health research.  AANHPIs remain one of the smallest populations and are unevenly dispersed across the U.S., making it difficult to get nationally representative samples in surveys and to identify trends in behavioral health service needs and service use. Additionally, they are an extremely diverse population—AANHPIs come from over 50 countries and practice over 20 major religions—and have unique histories in the United States, many of which include experiences of racism, discrimination and daily microaggressions.  Patterns of mental health service use by AANHPIs are often connected to the above factors, as well as with non-Western cultural ideas of mental disorders.

In mental health research, variability within AANHPIs is masked when data from various AANHPI ethnic groups are combined.  AANHPIs are commonly left out of research findings because they were excluded during data collection, or the sample size (i.e., number of participants) was too small making the accuracy of any findings too uncertain to report.  Additionally, when data are reported on AANHPIs, disaggregating by ethnic group (e.g., Chinese, Native Hawaiian, Samoan, etc.) is rarely done due to small sample size.  Without disaggregation of data by race and ethnicity, it is impossible to accurately understand the diverse AANHPI population, specifically regarding mental health issues and help-seeking behaviors.  These two issue briefs provide information about these AANPHI issues and provide ethnic specific data.  To learn more, please access and share the issue briefs linked above and on the SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity webpage.

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#ShareWellness During National Wellness Week 2014

By: Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., SAMHSA Administrator

Living wellness means balancing the physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, financial, occupational, and environmental dimensions of your life. Practicing wellness is essential to behavioral health. People with mental and/or substance use disorders die earlier than the general population, making wellness especially important for those with a behavioral health condition.

But how do we incorporate wellness into our everyday lives? Getting involved in National Wellness Week 2014 is a great place to start! This week long celebration aims to help Americans recognize the value of living wellness and inspires us to improve our healthy behaviors. Join me and others across the country in using social media to share wellness tips and ideas. Include the hashtag #ShareWellness when you post a message, photo, or video of yourself showing your favorite wellness activity. You can also gather ideas for new wellness activities by following the #ShareWellness conversation throughout the week.

SAMHSA Administrator Hyde #ShareWellness, Always be grateful.

In addition to participating in the #ShareWellness conversation on social media, you can use the interactive wellness map to see what’s happening in your community. If you’re interested in hosting a National Wellness Week activity, the Wellness Community Activation Kit has information and resources that can help you get started in organizing and planning your event.

I know practicing wellness is important to my overall health and well-being. I like to take a moment each day to practice being grateful which is shown to improve well-being. I look forward to seeing how you #ShareWellness this week!


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Join the Recovery Month Movement

By: Michael Duffy, RN, BSN, SAMHSA Region VI Regional Administrator

Throughout the month of September, communities across the country have come together to observe the 25th annual National Recovery Month (Recovery Month). Community events are the cornerstone of Recovery Month and provide a setting celebrate the successes of people who are in recovery. As individuals and communities across the country unite to speak up about behavioral health conditions and the reality of recovery, I invite you to join the movement and participate in Recovery and Health: Echoing Through the CommunityExternal Web Site Policy, a nationwide webcast.

On Monday, September 15, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. EST, a panel of national experts and experienced practitioners in recovery and health will kick-off an interactive discussion about integrating recovery into state and community systems. During this discussion, participants can send live questions to the panelists via email or on Twitter (@samhsagovExternal Web Site Policy). At the end of the panel discussion, echo site participants are invited to lead their own discussion using the information from the webcast to brainstorm and create an action plan to integrate recovery into their community.

Get involved and join the voices for recovery!

Register your Echo Site now! Register as an individual now!

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