Bill to stop mental health stigma in our communities introduced in the House and Senate

Senator Mazie Hirono (C-SPAN)

WASHINGTON — Representatives Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) and Grace Napolitano (D-El Monte) joined Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) on May 31 to announce the first bicameral introduction of Stop Mental Health Stigma in Our Communities . Bill, which would curb mental health stigma in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community.

According to data collected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), AANHPIs have the lowest rates of mental health service utilization of any racial/ethnic group, with only 25% of Asian adults with a mental health problem receiving treatment in 2021 In 2021, an estimated 77% of AANHPIs who met the criteria for a mental health problem did not receive necessary treatment.

And while suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the US, it is the leading cause of death for AANHPI youth ages 10-24, and they are the only racial/ethnic group in this age category whose leading cause of death is suicide.

“The AANHPI community in this country has faced a growing mental health crisis in recent years, including the rise in suicide deaths of AANHPI youth,” Chu said. “As the only psychologist currently serving in Congress, I know how important it is to remove barriers associated with seeking mental health care, as well as reduce stigma and raise awareness about mental health issues. This year, during AANHPI Heritage Month, I am honored to lead this bill with Rep. Napolitano back in the House and to be joined by Senator Hirono to lead the Senate’s First Mate.”

If signed into law, this legislation would direct SAMHSA to (1) provide outreach and education strategies to the AANHPI community by partnering with local behavioral health and advocacy organizations that have an established track record of serving AANHPI and ensuring that these strategies reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions and substance abuse; and (2) conduct research and collect disaggregated data on the state of mental health among AANHPI youth and AANHPI providers within the behavioral health workforce.

“This bill will address mental health stigma and disparities within the AANHPI community by providing funding for culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach and education,” Chu continued, “as well as requiring research with disaggregated data so that we can better understand and address the unique issues. faced by all the various subgroups within our community.”

“Economic, cultural and language barriers prevent too many members of the AANHPI community from accessing critical mental health care,” Hirono said. “Establishing a national community-informed education and outreach strategy is critical to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health care in AANHPI communities. As AANHPI Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month come to a close, I am pleased to join Representatives Chu and Napolitano in introducing this bill to help more members of our community access culturally competent mental health care”.

“For too long, mental health has been a taboo topic of discussion among families, especially within the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities,” Napolitano said. “Together, we can overcome this fear, shame and stigma with more outreach, education and open dialogue, enforcing our message that it’s always okay to ask for help. I am very proud to again partner with Congresswoman Chu to increase visibility and awareness of the needs of the AANHPI community at home in our San Gabriel Valley and across the US, as we continue to close the gaps in access and the availability of mental health services to all Asian Americans.”

“The National Association for Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health, NAAPIMHA, strongly supports the Stop Mental Health Stigma in Our Communities Act,” said Dr. DJ Ida, NAAPIMHA Executive Director. “This bill provides critical investments to reduce the stigma associated with mental health within Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. It is our hope that this bill will improve mental health outcomes through culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services and education, workforce development, and research with and for AANHPI communities.”

“The Stop Mental Health Stigma in Our Communities Act is critical to ending the stigma of seeking care for health and wellness,” said Juliet K. Choi, president and CEO of the American Health Forum of Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIAHF). “As all communities, including AANHPIs, are still reeling from the devastating impact of COVID-19 and senseless incidents of gun violence, it is critical to ensure that culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health resources and community supports are in place. available to families and communities.

“We applaud Rep. Chu and Sen. Hirono for calling attention to the need to improve access to mental health care for the AAPI community,” said Hannah Wesolowski, director of advocacy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). . “The Stop Mental Health Stigma in Our Communities Act will help address stigma and other systemic barriers to accessing mental health care and NAMI is proud to support this bill.”

“Papa Ola Lokahi appreciates all the efforts to lessen the mental health stigma that is prevalent in our communities and appreciates that Congress recognizes the importance of providing culturally resonant services to Native Hawaiians,” said Dr. Sheri Daniels , CEO of Papa Ola Lokahi.

To date, at least 58 organizations have endorsed the legislation, including:

AAPI amplified

Nevada AAPI Democratic Caucus

AAPI Equity Alliance

AAPI Montclair

AAPI Youth Uprising

Anise Health

API Equality-LA

Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander for Equity

Arkansas United

Asian Americans Advocating for Justice | AAJC

Asian American and Pacific Islander Health Forum (APIAHF)

Asian Advisory and Referral Service

Asian girls turn on

Asian Mental Health Collective

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (AFL-CIO)

Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL)

Asian Youth Act

Asian Pacific Association of Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO)

I can not stop! It will not stop! Consultant

I can not stop! It will not stop! Education Fund

Center for Mental Health Innovation, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health

change matrix

Colegio de San Mateo AANAPISI Program

Empowerment of Pacific Island Communities (EPIC)

Initiative Philippine Mental Health – Hawai’i

Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO)

Hawaii Public Health Association


Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)

Koreatown Youth and Community Center

Little Tokyo Service Center

mabuhay, inc.

mental health america

Mental Health America of Hawai`i

Monsoon Asians and Pacific Islanders in solidarity

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

National Association for Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health (NAAPIMHA)

National Asian-Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)

National Asian-Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA)

National Council for Mental Well-being

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)

National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA)

API National Organization to End Sexual Violence (NAPIESV)

OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates

Dad Ola Lokahi

Philippine Nurses Association of Metropolitan DC

Filipino Village Historic Site

saahas for cause

Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus

sakura foundation


SEIU 503-Asian Desi Pacific Islander (ADPI) Caucus

SHK Global Health

South Asian Public Health Association

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)

Asian American Foundation (TAAF)

The Cambodian Family Community Center

United Pacific Islands Alliance-WA (UTOPIA Washington)