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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

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Mental and Behavioral Health - Asian Americans

  • Suicide was the leading cause of death for Asian/Pacific Islanders, ages 15 to 24, in 2019.1
  • Asian American males, in grades 9-12, were 30 percent more likely to consider attempting suicide as compared to non-Hispanic white male students, in 2019.
  • In 2018, Asians were 60 percent less likely to have received mental health treatment as compared to non-Hispanic whites.
  • 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 percent of Southeast Asian refugees receiving mental health care were diagnosed with PTSD.2
  • The overall suicide rate for Asians is less than half that of the non-Hispanic white population.

MENTAL HEALTH STATUS

Serious psychological distress in the past year among adults 18 years of age and over, percentage, 2019
Asian*
Non-Hispanic White
Asian / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
9.0
12.7
0.6

Source: SAMHSA, 2020. Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 10.43B
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2019-nsduh-detailed-tables [PDF | 10.22MB]


Percentage 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, 2018
 
Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Sadness
1.6
2.6
0.7
Hopelessness
1.4
2.2
0.6
Worthlessness
1.9
2.3
0.4
Everything is an effort
6.7
6.6
0.7

Source: CDC 2021. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2018. Table A-7.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm


Percentage of population with serious psychological distress among persons 18 years of age and over, 2018
Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
2.1
3.8
0.0

Source: CDC 2021. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2018. Table A-8.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm


Age-adjusted percentage 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, 2018
 
Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
10.0
28.6
0.4
Female
3.8
8.0
0.5
Total
6.7
18.1
0.4

Source: CDC 2021. National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 69, No. 13. Table 10
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr69/nvsr69-13-508.pdf [PDF | 2MB]


Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2018: Men
 
Asian Men
Non-Hispanic White Men
Asian Men / Non-Hispanic White Men Ratio
15-24 years
15.5
27.3
0.6
25-44 years
10.5
35.8
0.5
45-64 years
12.3
39.5
0.4
65 years and over
13.7
38.2
0.3
All ages
10.0
28.6
0.3

Source: CDC, 2021. Health United States, 2019. Table 9.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/2019/009-508.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]


Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2018: Women
 
Asian Women
Non-Hispanic White Women
Asian Women / Non-Hispanic White Women Ratio
15-24 years
6.9
6.7
1.0
25-44 years
4.2
10.4
0.4
45-64 years
4.8
13.0
0.3
65 years and over
3.6
6.3
0.8
All ages
3.8
8.0
0.5

Source: CDC, 2021. Health United States, 2019. Table 9.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/2019/009-508.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]

ADOLESCENTS

Death rates for suicide: ages 15 - 19, 2019
 
Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Male
14.3
18.3
0.5
Female
3.8
5.7
0.9
Total
9.1
12.2
0.6

Source: CDC, 2021. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Accessed 04/21/2021]
http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html


 
Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
17.3
13.8
1.3
Women
22.0
24.3
0.8
Total
19.7
19.1
1.0

Source: CDC 2021. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. [Accessed 04/21/2021]
http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline.


Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9–12, 2019 Percentage of students who attempted suicide
 
Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
7.1
6.4
0.6
Women
8.4
9.4
1.2
Total
7.7
7.9
0.9

Source: CDC 2019. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. [Accessed 04/21/2021]
http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline.

ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

Percentage of adults age 18 and over who received mental health services in the past year, 2019
Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
7.0
19.8
0.3

SAMHSA, 2020. Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 8.17B
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2019-nsduh-detailed-tables


Percentage of adults age 18 and over who received prescription medications for mental health services, 2019
Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
4.8
16.6
0.2

SAMHSA, 2020. Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 8.21B
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2019-nsduh-detailed-tables


Percentage of adults age 18 and over with past year major depressive episode who received treatment for the depression, 2019
Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
51.7
70.2
0.6

SAMHSA, 2020. Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 8.39B
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2019-nsduh-detailed-tables

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


1CDC. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Accessed 04/21/2021] 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]

5/19/2021 11:31:00 AM