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Office of Minority Health

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Mental and Behavioral Health - Asian Americans

  • Suicide was the leading cause of death for Asian Americans, ages 15 to 24, in 2017.1
  • Asian American females, in grades 9-12, were 20 percent more likely to attempt suicide as compared to non-Hispanic white female students, in 2017.
  • 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.2
  • The overall suicide rate for Asians Americans is half that of the non-Hispanic white population.

MENTAL HEALTH STATUS

Serious psychological distress in the past 30 days among adults 18 years of age and over, percent, 2015-2016
Asian American*
Non-Hispanic White
Asian American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
2.1
3.7
0.6

Source: CDC, 2018. Health United States, 2017. Table 46.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus17.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]


Percent of population with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or that everything is an effort, all of the time, among persons 18 years of age and over, 2017
 
Asian American
Non-Hispanic White
Asian American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Sadness
1.8
2.6
0.7
Hopelessness
1.2
1.9
0.6
Worthlessness
0.7
1.8
0.4
Everything is an effort
4.0
6.1
0.7

Source: CDC 2019. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2017. Table A-7.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm


Percent of population with serious psychological distress among persons 18 years of age and over, 2017
Asian American
Non-Hispanic White
Asian American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
1.2
3.4
0.4

Source: CDC 2019. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2017. Table A-8.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm


Age-adjusted percent distributions of adults 18 years of age and over, with serious psychological distress, most or all of the time, 2004–2006
Population
Serious distress
Ratio / All Asian Population
Ratio / Whites
All Whites
2.9
-
-
All Asians
1.9
-
1.7
Chinese
1.6
0.8
0.6
Filipino
2.5
1.3
0.9
Asian Indian
1.4
0.7
0.5
Japanese
1.1
0.6
0.4
Vietnamese
2.5
1.3
0.9
Korean
1.3
0.7
0.4
Other Asian & NHOPI*
2.6
1.4
0.9

Source: CDC, 2008. Health Characteristics of the Asian Adult Population: United States, 2004-2006. Table 7.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad394.pdf [PDF, 476KB]

DEATH RATES

Age-adjusted death rates for suicide, by sex, race and Hispanic origin, 2017
 
Asian American
Non-Hispanic White
Asian American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
9.9
28.2
0.4
Female
3.9
7.9
0.5
Total
6.8
17.8
0.4

Source: CDC, 2019. National Vital Statistics Report. Vol. 68, No. 09. Table 10.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_09.pdf [PDF | 2MB]


Age-adjusted death rates for suicide, by race, 2016
Asian American
Non-Hispanic White
Asian American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
6.7
17.0
0.4

Source: CDC, 2018. Health United States, 2017. Table 46.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus17.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]


Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2016: Men
 
Asian American Men
Non-Hispanic White Men
Asian American Men / Non-Hispanic White Men Ratio
15-24 years
16.3
26.6
0.6
25-44 years
11.9
24.5
0.5
45-64 years
11.8
33.5
0.4
65 years and over
12.1
36.5
0.3
All ages
10.1
36.1
0.3

Source: CDC, 2018. Health United States, 2017. Table 30.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus17.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]


Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2016: Women
 
Asian American Women
Non-Hispanic White Women
Asian American Women / Non-Hispanic White Women Ratio
15-24 years
6.3
6.1
1.0
25-44 years
3.7
10.3
0.4
45-64 years
4.5
13.0
0.3
65 years and over
4.7
6.2
0.8
All ages
3.6
7.9
0.5

Source: CDC, 2018. Health United States, 2017. Table 30.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus17.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]

ADOLESCENTS

Death rates for suicide: ages 15 - 19, 2017
 
Asian American
Non-Hispanic White
Asian American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
11.6
22.0
0.5
Female
5.2
5.8
0.9
Total
8.4
14.1
0.6

Source: CDC, 2019. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [ACCESSED 08/02/2019]
http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html


Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9–12, 2017
Percent of students who seriously considered suicide
 
Asian American
Non-Hispanic White
Asian American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
17.0
13.0
1.3
Women
17.8
21.2
0.8
Total
17.4
17.3
1.0

Source: CDC 2019. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data.
Available at http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline. [Accessed 08/02/2019]


Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9–12, 2017
Percent of students who attempted suicide
 
Asian American
Non-Hispanic White
Asian American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
2.7
4.6
0.6
Women
8.4
7.3
1.2
Total
5.7
6.1
0.9

Source: CDC 2019. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data.
Available at http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline. [Accessed 08/02/2019]

ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

Percent of adults age 18 and over who received mental health services in the past year, 2018
Asian American
Non-Hispanic White
Asian American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
6.3
18.6
0.3

SAMHSA, 2019. Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 8.17B
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2018-nsduh-detailed-tables


Percent of adults age 18 and over who received prescription medications for mental health services, 2018
Asian American
Non-Hispanic White
Asian American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
3.6
15.4
0.2

SAMHSA, 2019. Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 8.21B
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2018-nsduh-detailed-tables 


Percent of adults age 18 and over with past year major depressive episode who received treatment for the depression, 2018
Asian American
Non-Hispanic White
Asian American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
43.9
68.5
0.6

SAMHSA, 2019. Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 8.39B
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2018-nsduh-detailed-tables

 *All data in the above surveys relate to non-Hispanic Asian Americans.


1CDC, 2016. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Accessed 06/20/2016] http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html

2NIH, National Diabetes Education Program, 2006. Silent Trauma: Diabetes, Health Status, and the Refugee: Southeast Asians in the United States. http://ndep.nih.gov/media/SilentTrauma.pdf [PDF | 2.3MB]

Last Modified: 9/25/2019 11:23:00 AM