Addressing Trauma in Asian Americans: A Call to Action for Dissemination & Implementation Science

Fall 2021 - Students Section

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Wendy Chu & Andrea Chi Ern Ng

Section Editors: Jack Lennon & Emily Rooney

ASIAN AMERICANS ARE THE MOST DIVERSE and fastest growing ethnic group in the United States (Sue et al., 2021). However, issues affecting Asian Americans remain invisible due to cultural phenomena such as the model minority myth that assumes Asian Americans are universally high-achieving and successful (Yip et al., 2021). This has consequently diverted attention from the mental health needs of Asian Americans. Anti-Asian racism increased drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic as Stop AAPI Hate (2021) found a 153% increase in hate incident reports from March 2020 to March 2021. This spur in racial violence further exacerbates existing mental health disparities (Wu et al., 2021). Thus, it is both crucial and timely to advance our ability to address and understand trauma in Asian Americans.

This article contextualizes trauma in Asian Americans, reviews evidence-based treatment for trauma, and discusses barriers to mental health care. Further, it describes how dissemination and implementation science can address the burgeoning mental health needs of trauma-exposed Asian Americans and concludes with future implications. Of note, we use the term Asian American to include any individual of Asian descent living in the United States. While this umbrella term overshadows many within group differences, we assert that shared experiences of racial marginalization define the group (Sue et al., 2021; Yip et al., 2021). [Continue…]