How Healthcare Providers, Employers Can Provide Mental Health Support for Their AAPI Employees
In recent years, there have been some inroads to address mental health stigma in the AAPI community.
In 2021, U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu reintroduced the Stop Mental Health Stigma in Our Communities Act, which would provide outreach and education strategies.
Healthcare providers—and primary care physicians, in particular—have an important role to play to reduce mental health stigma and provide support.
For starters, they need more awareness about culture norms.
It’s also important that they open the lines of communications with their patients, and ask about stress and mental health, since patients may present with a concern or symptoms that have stress and anxiety as underlying symptoms and patients may not be likely to talk with their providers due to stigma.
Additionally, providers can send reminders about checking in about mental health and provide educational materials in the waiting room and at check-in.
Providers should also assess patients for emerging issues such as substance use.
A 2019 report from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 1 in 7 Asian/Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders have a substance use disorder.
Employers also have a significant role to play in addressing stress and mental health issues.
For example, health benefit communications can be tailored with images and information that reflect diversity, target these employees, and address their unique needs.
It’s also important for employers to understand the cultural barriers to accessing care and asking for help that exist, and to find ways to have people engage in EAP and behavioral health offerings.
Employees need to know that these services are confidential, and that no stigma or judgment exists.