MetroPlusHealth Survey Finds AAPI Women Facing Greater Barriers to Access and Support Mental Health Care in NYC

MetroPlusHealth, New York City’s high-quality, affordable health plan, conducted its 2022 AAPI Study on Women’s Mental Health in NYC in April and found that Asian women in New York City feel they have significantly less support and mental health care than the average woman in the city. The disparity between high demand and poor availability of linguistically and culturally appropriate mental health providers represents a significant gap in access to treatment.

68% of AAPI women who participated in the NYC survey agree that talking to a mental health professional would positively affect their lives. Yet only 27% of Asian women strongly agree that they feel supported by family and friends, compared to 35% of the general female population in New York. 69% of Asian women said they knew they could talk to a primary care physician about their mental health, compared to 80% of women in the general NYC population.

In addition, only 35% of Asian women know of a local community organization that provides mental health services in their preferred language, compared to 49% of women in the general population in New York City.

There are also generational differences among the AAPI women. While Gen Z women surveyed report feeling more stressed than Baby Boomers (40% vs. 9% strongly agree), they are also more likely to encourage their friends and relatives to seek professional mental health care (32% vs. 13%), prefer to speak to a professional who speaks their language (33% vs. 3%) and feel they don’t prioritize their mental health enough (22% vs. 3%).

Lack of understanding about mental illness and the taint associated with mental health problems can lead to denial or neglect of mental health problems.

“The main barrier to seeking help is often what you have included yourself — you feel stigmatized, ashamed, and part of the problem is you may not feel as comfortable talking about mental health issues as you are about physical health issues. problems,” said Dr. Sanjiv Shah, Chief Medical Officer of MetroPlusHealth. “We need to do a much better job of removing the stigma surrounding mental illness.”

According to a recent analysis by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), AAPI immigrants are “one of the most diverse racial groups in the city, representing more than 30 different ethnic groups and speaking more than 50 languages” with a high poverty rate. The analysis also states, “There have been increased instances of discrimination and violence against AAPI individuals, rooted in the long history of racism, stereotyping, and scapegoating of immigrant communities in the United States.”

Culturally sensitive and fluent in more than 40 languages, the MetroPlusHealth workforce is as diverse as the amazing city we serve. In August, MetroPlusHealth opened a new flagship office in Flushing, Queens, working with local community organizations. The Vlissingen office reflects MetroPlusHealth’s commitment to being more than a health plan for its members and communities.

“In traditional Asian culture, mental health is rarely talked about,” says Dr. Eric Wei, Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “But each generation is seeing more and more benefits of seeking mental health care and trying to convince their parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents that it’s okay.

To raise awareness of mental health support in the AAPI community, MetroPlusHealth is hosting its first-ever Mental Health Talk campaign on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to noon. On May 25, MetroPlusHealth will also host a virtual city hall focused on AAPI Mental Health.

Members of the public can register to attend the virtual town hall at https://aapimentalhealth.eventbrite.com.

To learn more about MetroPlusHealth’s behavioral health programs, visit https://www.metroplus.org/member/behavioral-health.

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