Mental Health and Substance Abuse Resource Guide

We are pleased to introduce the “Mental Health & Substance Abuse Resource Guide for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Communities.” We hope this web-based resource, which was developed in collaboration with national AAPI organizations and community health centers, will provide you with easy access to existing resources on AAPI mental health and substance abuse.

Over the past several years, AAPCHO has through its Promoting Access To Healthcare (PATH) program, focused not only on raising awareness about mental health issues affecting AAPI communities, but on solutions that address these issues. Since 1999, AAPCHO has convened meetings/conferences that allow participants to discuss mental health issues and share resources, and developed resources for individuals/organizations that serve the mental health needs of AAPIs. This Resource Guide is another way in which AAPCHO is ensuring that organizations serving AAPIs are not only aware of the mental health resources that are available, but that they have easy access to these materials.

This resource guide was made possible with funding from the Office of Minority Health and support from SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services. We acknowledge the following individuals and organizations for their support and guidance on this project:

  • DJ Ida, National Asian American and Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAPIMHA)
  • Ford Kuramoto, National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA)
  • Ho Tran, Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)
  • Doua Thor, Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
  • Huy Bui, National Association of Vietnamese American Service Agencies (NAVASA)
  • Cha Lee, Hmong National Development Inc. (HND)
  • Juliet Choi, Asian American Justice Center
  • Larke Huang, American Institute of Research
  • Emily Ihara, the Office of Congressman Mike Honda
  • Teddy Chen, Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in New York
  • Albert Yeung, South Cove Community Health Center in Boston
  • Steve Maxwell, Community-University Health Care Center in Minneapolis.

Documents on Culturally Competent Care

This section includes useful mental health/substance abuse-related documents issued by the federal government, as well as AAPI-specific resources that promote culturally competent mental health care and services.

Federal Documents and Resources

  • President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health Report. Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America. 2003 — In February 2001, President George W. Bush launched the New Freedom Initiative and created the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health to evaluate the mental health service delivery system. By Executive Order 13263, the Commission was tasked with identifying the problems and gaps in the current system, and recommending improvements.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institute of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. 1999 — This 1999 document is the Surgeon General’s first-ever report on mental health and mental illness. The Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health advances the important fact that mental health is fundamental to an individual’s overall health.
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Information on Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency (Executive Order 13166) click here.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act — The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. This website provides information on federal civil rights laws, and links to agencies responsible for implementing the act.
  • Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Mental Health Information Center — The National Mental Health Information Center was developed for users of mental health services and their families, and the general public. The site also includes information on federal, state, and local organizations dedicated to treating and preventing mental illness, material on federal grants, conferences, and other events.

Other Documents & Resources

  • Institute of Medicine. Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. 2003 — This document examines how racial and ethnic disparities in treatment may arise in health care systems, and analyzes patients and provider attitudes, expectations and behaviors that may contribute to such disparities. It also offers recommendations for eradicating disparities including language access, community-based care and cross-cultural education within the health professionals.
  • Addictive Behaviors — This document addresses the prevalence of addictive disorders such as gambling and alcohol and drug abuse among Asian Americans.

Best Practice and Service Models

This section highlights community mental health programs that integrate mental health services with primary health care, and that provide comprehensive services to newly arrived AAPI immigrants or refugees.

Community Health Center Programs

  • South Cove Community Health Center Behavioral Health Program
    The Behavioral Health Department of South Cove Community Health Center provides services including psychiatric evaluation, psychopharmacological treatment, psychological testing, and counseling. The staff includes bilingual and bicultural psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health counselors serving predominantly Chinese and Vietnamese Americans.
  • Community-University Health Care Center Mental Health Program
    Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC) is a multidisciplinary safety net clinic serving uninsured and economically disadvantaged residents of South Minneapolis, MN. CUHCC uses a case manager-licensed provider team model to engage clients in holistic mental health care that integrates social services and clinical treatment. The case manager acts as a single point of entry to a continuum of comprehensive services, connecting clients to the resources they need.

Community Mental Health Programs

  • The Social Adjustment Program for Southeast Asians (SEA) – Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
    The SEA Program addresses mental health and social adjustment issues of Cambodian, Hmong, Vietnamese and Lao immigrants and refugees of the greater St. Paul metropolitan area. The program provides a variety of services to Southeast Asian youth and adults through bilingual and bicultural counselors trained in Western mental health practices. These services focus on families, youth and children, adults and groups with special needs or considerations.

Fact Sheets and Health Education Materials

This section includes fact sheets that provide data on AAPI mental health/substance abuse, as well as health education materials that educate our communities about mental health/substance abuse issues.

Fact Sheets

Health Education Materials

    The New York State Office of Minority Health developed a Chinese version of SPEAK – Suicide Prevention Education Awareness Kit. SPEAK is an information kit for the public, health care providers and educators to help them understand the terrible frequency and toll of suicide, and to discover ways and methods to aid in preventing it.
  • Healing the Spirit: Treatment of Depression Among the Asian Elderly, 2005 (Video)
    The Asian Pacific Fund, a San Francisco-based foundation, produced this video (in DVD and VHS) to help families and caregivers learn about depression among the Asian elderly. This DVD is available in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Japanese, Korean, Cambodian, and Hindi.

Articles, Bibliographies & Literature Databases

This section introduces a collection of recent research articles on AAPIs & mental health, as well as literature databases to aid users in their own research efforts.


Bibliographies & Literature Databases

  • AAPI Health Literature Databases provided by AAPCHO
    Compiled by AAPCHO, the sections on mental health and depression contain more than 100 recent articles relevant to the concerns of AAPIs and their mental well-being. The database includes articles specific to AAPIs, and touches on areas such as suicide and stress, schizophrenia and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Policy & Advocacy Organizations

This section lists organizations that promote culturally competent care and advance the well-being and mental health of individuals through policy-related and legislative activities. It also includes organizations that provide information on legislative issues.

  • Asian American Justice Center (formerly National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium)
    The Asian American Justice Center works to advance the human and civil rights of Asian Americans through advocacy, public policy, public education, and litigation. AAJC specializes in issues related to affirmative action, anti-Asian violence prevention/race relations, census, immigrant rights, language access, and voting rights.
  • National Mental Health Association
    The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) is the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization addressing mental health and mental illness. NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans, especially the 54 million individuals with mental disorders, through advocacy, education, research, and service.
  • National Council on Interpreting in Health Care
    The National Council on Interpreting in Health Care is a multidisciplinary organization whose mission is to promote culturally competent professional health care interpreting as a means of providing equal access to health care for limited English proficient individuals.
  • American Psychological Association
    American Psychological Association (APA) is a scientific and professional organization that represents the discipline of psychology in the U.S. The objective of APA is to advance psychology as a science and profession, and as a means of promoting health, education, and public welfare.
  • Congressional Research Service
    The Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides the U.S. Congress with nonpartisan, objective analysis and research on all legislative issues.

AAPI National Organizations

This section includes AAPI national organizations who advocate on behalf of the health, economic, social, and civic health needs of AAPIs.

Mental Health & Health Advocacy Organizations

  • National Asian American and Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA)
    Founded in 2000, NAAPIMHA is one of few national organizations advocating on behalf of AAPI mental health and cultural competency issues. NAAPIMHA focuses on data collection; promotion of best practices and service models; technical assistance and capacity building for service providers; research and evaluation; and consumer and family engagement.
  • National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA)
    NAPAFASA is a national organization that prevents and reduces substance abuse in Asian American, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islander families and communities through research, advocacy, education, and capacity building. Founded in 1988, NAPAFASA involves service providers, families, and youth in efforts to research AAPI communities to promote health and social justice and to reduce substance abuse and related problems.

  • Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)
    The mission of APIAHF is to enable Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to attain the highest possible level of health and well-being. It envisions a multicultural society where AAPI communities are included and represented in health, political, social, and economic areas, and where there is social justice for all. The Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence is housed at APIAHF. It serves as a forum and clearinghouse of information and research regarding violence against women in AAPI communities.
  • Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL)
    APPEAL is a national network of organizations and individuals committed to working towards social justice and a tobacco-free Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. APPEAL’s mission is to prevent tobacco use and improve the health status in the AAPI community through network development, capacity building, education, advocacy, and leadership development.

Other Advocacy Organizations

  • Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
    SEARAC, located in Washington D.C., is a national organization advancing the interests of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans through leadership development, capacity building, and community empowerment. Founded in 1979, SEARAC carries out action-oriented research projects, and strengthens the capacity of community-based organizations such as mutual assistance associations (MAAs) and faith-based organizations (FBOs).
  • Hmong National Development, Inc. (HND)
    Located in Washington D.C., HND is a national non-profit organization that works with local and national organizations, public and private entities, and individuals to promote educational opportunities, increase community capacity, and develop resources for the well-being, growth, and full participation of Hmong in society. HND also partners with other AAPI national organizations to address Hmong health issues.