According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Asian American women ages 65 and older had a higher suicide rate — 6.5 per 100,000 — than any other racial or ethnic group between 2004 and 2007. White women had the next highest suicide rate: 4.3 per 100,000.
Below are some key findings from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Minority Health: > Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for Asian Americans, and also was the 10th leading cause of death for White Americans, in 2009. >
> Older Asian American women have the highest suicide rate of all women over age 65 in the United States. >
> Southeast Asian refugees are at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with trauma experienced before and after immigration to the U.S. One study found that 70% of Southeast Asian refugees receiving mental health care were diagnosed with PTSD. >
> For Asian Americans, the rate of serious psychological distress increases with lower levels of income, as it does in most other ethnic populations. >
> The overall suicide rate for Asian Americans is half that of the White population.
Studies have found Asian-Americans experience financial, physical and communication barriers to accessing health care. But some subgroups also face social stigma.
“Traditionally, in Chinese culture, if you have a mental health problem, you tend to try to deal with it yourself or within your family,” Joyce Chu, an assistant clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University, explained to the San Francisco Chronicle. “If someone has a serious mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar (disorder), that family member is not talked about or kind of hidden.”
A 2008 CDC analysis looked at different Asian-American populations facing serious psychological distress: