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Asian Americans face obstacles when seeking mental health care

Here's what obstacles Asian Americans face when seeking mental health care
Here's what obstacles Asian Americans face when seeking mental health care 02:48

SACRAMENTO – This month, CBS13 is celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI) and spotlighting mental health awareness.

For many Asian Americans, their families made sacrifices that helped build a future for them in this country. But for the older generation, those sacrifices resulted in trauma that's hardly talked about.

From being forced into an internment camp, excluded by society, or arriving in the U.S. as refugees of war, generations of Asian Americans have endured painful stereotypes, racism, and cultural prejudice. 

"I escaped Vietnam when I was eight, and I arrived in the U.S. when I was nine," said Dr. Carloee Tran. 

Tran is an author, clinical psychologist, and a refugee of the Vietnam War.

"I escaped from Vietnam to the U.S. by boat and that experience has been transformational in my life in every way," Tran said. 

Speaking as a professional and from personal experience, Tran said the impact of trauma from wars is not only found in survivors but in their children.

"There's this concept of intergenerational trauma that happens, that gets carried over into the next generation or two. So, it changes our process, our nervous system, our brain," Tran said. 

When it comes to seeking mental health care, Tran said the Asian communities face obstacles including cultural stigma, language barriers and navigating the health care system.

So, what are some of the solutions? 

"I think the key is finding a provider that they can connect with and relate to," Tran said. "Of course, being able to even find somebody who's Asian, who looks like you."

Mental health professionals, like Tran, have called for more services in their native language, placing mental health clinicians in general medical clinics and adding mental health programs in Asian American communities. 

"It is also important for us not to focus on the traumas and on the deficiencies, but really to speak to the resilience of the Asian American community. We are still here. We need to celebrate our courage and our resilience," Tran said. 

If you or a loved one is seeking mental health care, you can visit Mental Health America's website

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