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Mental Health and Asian Americans

  • Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for Asian Americans, and also was the 10th leading cause of death for White Americans, in 2009.1
  • Older Asian American women have the highest suicide rate of all women over age 65 in the United States.2
  • 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.3
  • For Asian Americans, the rate of serious psychological distress increases with lower levels of income, as it does in most other ethnic populations.
  • The overall suicide rate for Asian Americans is half that of the White population.

MENTAL HEALTH STATUS:

Serious psychological distress among adults 18 years of age and over, percent, 2009-2010

Asian American

Non-Hispanic White

Asian American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio

1.6

3.1

0.5

Source: CDC, 2012. Health United States, 2011. Table 59.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf [PDF | 9.4MB]

Serious psychological distress among adults 18 years of age and over, percent of poverty level, 2008-2010

 

Asian American

Non-Hispanic White

Asian American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio

Below 100%

3.3

10.7

0.3

100%-less than 200%

--

5.5

--

200% or greater

0.9

1.9

0.5

Source: CDC. Health Data Interactive.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/hdi.htm. [Accessed 07/07/2012].

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, 2010

 

Asian American

Non-Hispanic White

Asian American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio

Sadness

1.9

2.8

0.7

Hopelessness

1.3

2.0

0.7

Worthlessness

0.8

1.7

0.5

Everything is an effort

4.0

5.6

0.7

Source:  CDC 2012. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2010. Table 14.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_252.pdf [PDF | 3.1MB]

Percent of population with feelings of nervousness or restlessness, among persons 18 years of age and over, 2010

 

Asian American

Non-Hispanic White

Asian American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio

Nervousness, all or most of time

1.8

4.9

0.4

Restlessness, all or most of time

2.4

6.4

0.4

Source:  CDC 2012. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2010. Table 16.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_252.pdf [PDF | 3.1MB]

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, 2009

 

Asian/Pacific Islander

Non-Hispanic White

Asian/Pacific Islander /Non-Hispanic White Ratio

Male

9.2

23.2

0.4

Female

3.8

6.0

0.6

Total

6.3

14.3

0.4

Source:  CDC, 2012. National Vital Statistic Report. Vol. 60, Num 3 Table 17 and Table 16.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_03.pdf [PDF | 2MB]

Age-adjusted death rates for suicide, by race, 2009

Asian American

Non-Hispanic White

Asian American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio

6.3

14.3

0.4

Source: CDC, 2012. Health United States, 2011. Table 24.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf [PDF | 9.8MB]

Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2009: Men

 

Asian American Men

Non-Hispanic White Men

Asian American Men/ Non-Hispanic White Men Ratio

15-24 years

9.6

18.9

0.5

25-44 years

10.1

28.8

0.4

45-64 years

12.7

33.7

0.4

65 years and over

15.4

33.1

0.5

All ages

9.2

23.2

0.4

Source: CDC, 2012. Health United States, 2011. Table 39.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf [PDF | 9.8MB]

Death rates for suicide, age, race and Hispanic origin, 2009: Women

 

Asian American Women

Non-Hispanic White Women

Asian American Women/ Non-Hispanic White Women Ratio

15-24 years

5.3

4.0

1.3

25-44 years

4.2

8.1

0.5

45-64 years

5.0

10.6

0.5

65 years and over

4.8

4.5

1.1

All ages

3.8

6.0

0.6

Source: CDC, 2012. Health United States, 2011. Table 39.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf [PDF | 9.8MB]


ADOLESCENTS:

Death Rates for Suicide: Ages 15 - 19, 2009

 

Asian/Pacific Islander

Non-Hispanic White

Asian/Pacific Islander /Non-Hispanic White Ratio

Male

7.5

14.0

0.5

Female

4.2

3.5

1.2

Total

5.9

8.9

0.7

Source:  CDC, 2012. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Accessed 07/07/2012]
http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html

Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9-12, 2009
Percent of students who seriously considered suicide


 

Asian

Non-Hispanic White

Asian/
Non-Hispanic White Ratio

Men

17.1

12.8

1.3

Women

21.1

18.4

1.1

Total

18.9

15.5

1.2

Source: CDC, 2012. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. [Accessed 07/07/2012]
http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline

Suicidal ideation among students in grades 9-12, 2009 Percent of students who attempted suicide

 

Asian

Non-Hispanic White

Asian
Non-Hispanic White Ratio

Men

7.0

4.6

1.5

Women

15.0

7.9

1.9

Total

10.8

6.2

1.7

Source: CDC, 2012. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. [Accessed 07/07/2012]
http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline


ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE:

Percent of Adults age 18 and over who received mental health treatment or counseling in the past year, 2008

 

Asian American

Non-Hispanic White

Asian American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio

Male

-

10.8

-

Female

4.4

20.8

0.2

Total

4.5

16.0

0.3

Source:  2010 National Healthcare Disparities Report. Table 17_3_1.2a and 2b
http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/qrdr10/index.html

Percent of Adults age 18 and over who received prescription medications for mental health treatment or counseling, 2008

 

Asian American

Non-Hispanic White

Asian American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio

Male

-

9.1

-

Female

-

18.3

-

Total

3.4

13.9

0.2

Source:  2010 National Healthcare Disparities Report. Table 17_3_3.2a and 2b
http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/qrdr10/index.html

NOTE: *NHOPI = Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.


1CDC, 2011. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Accessed 07/07/2012] http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html

2U.S. Surgeon General, 2001. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44251

3NIH, 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]


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Content Last Modified: 12/5/2012 9:29:00 AM
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