Though I have a few acquaintances who have dealt with depression, it hasn’t ever hit close to home. So when I stumbled across a recent PBS article about the strong link between Asian American women and depression, I was genuinely caught off guard. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, depression is the second leading cause of death for Asian American and Pacific Islander women between the ages of 15 and 24. On top of that, this demographic has the highest suicide rates among women in that age group.
Evidently, factors such as the pressure of homeland values coupled with common feelings of loss and stress among immigrants contribute to this phenomenon. Psychologists also pointed toward the pressure Asian parents exert on their children to study, where children grow up in a negative atmosphere. In terms of why girls are more likely to have depression than boys, Dr. Dung Ngo from the University of Wisconsin pointed out that Asian parents are often stricter with their daughters than their sons.
These facts startled me, and I regret that I wasn’t more aware of the trend beforehand. However, the article may have hit the nail on the head when it mentions that cases of mental illness are often downplayed in Asian American communities due to the social stigma they carry.
If a close friend or someone in our family is depressed, it’s crucial that we reach out or lend a helping hand—it could very much make all the difference. [via PBS.org]
Last modified: October 26, 2010