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“It feels at times that you have to ‘prove your craziness’ to get free help immediately,” said Wong.The relationship between acculturation and smoking behavior was examined in four Asian-American groups that included recent immigrants and US-born Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodians residing in the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.“The cultural expectations are that Asian women don’t have that kind of freedom to hang out, to go out with friends, to do the kinds of things most teenagers growing up want to do.” A 2009 study by the University of Washington found that nearly 16 percent of U.S.-born AAPI women have contemplated suicide in their lifetimes. Wong stressed that her experiences do not reflect all Asian-American families.The resulting stigma associated with mental illness often prevents these conditions from being addressed within Asian-American communities.The cultural pressure of homeland values, combined with the feelings of stress and loss common among immigrant communities, has led to what Dr.According to the Department of Health and Human Services, depression is the second leading cause of death for Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women between 15 and 24, who consistently have the highest suicide rates among women in that age group.AAPI women over 65 have the highest rates of suicide among all races in that age group.
“I definitely grew up in a family where it was extremely important not to let anyone know that anything was ever going wrong,” said Wong.
She was walking around the picturesque campus lake with a group of Asian-American students when the conversation turned to the topic of suicide attempts.
“I had remembered reading that Asian-American women had some of the highest rates of depression and suicide,” said Wong.
Society’s model stereotype of the highly successful, well-educated and upwardly mobile person can also make it difficult for Asian women to accept their “flaws,” according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
In some traditional Asian cultures, women are supposed to be perfect daughters, wives, mothers and nurturers, always putting others before themselves.
The study was part of a community-based, comprehensive cross-sectional study designed to assess a broad array of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors on tobacco use and tobacco-related cancer issues in the target multi-ethnic and multi-lingual Asian-American community.