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Los Angeles, Calif. ––While the pandemic took the lives of thousands, and many schools across the country and the economy still waiting to reopen, residents were bound to their homes to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). But the results showed the current circumstance is devastating young teenagers’ mental health, psychiatrists warned. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40.9% of U.S. adults who responded to the survey reported at least one mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder (30.9%) citing the pandemic during late June. 

Among those, the report found fewer Asian Americans raised their mental concerns compared to white Americans. 

Data released by the Kaiser Permanente Southern California demonstrated death rates in young Asian American females aged 15 to 24 are 30% higher compared to those of white females, and as for Asian American high school students, 10.8% report having attempted suicide, versus 6.2% among white Americans. 

Dr. Chih-An Wong, a psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente Southern California, warned the reason is that Asian Americans are usually reluctant to seek mental assistance due to language and cultural barriers. 

“As a result, they tend to disregard, or outright dismiss, clear symptoms that require medical attention,” Dr. Wong told Scriberr News.

Dr. Wong noted that approximately 2.9 million people who consider themselves part of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community experienced a diagnosable mental disorder last year. With the pandemic continuing to affect school closures, Dr. Wong encourages Asian American families to support kids in overcoming cultural barriers and seek treatment for mental illness. 

He also believes “Chinese traditional culture always guides parents in a strict way to treat their kids.”

“However, it would possibly get your kid mentally sick, especially in this very difficult time. It’s important to fight through stigmas that do exist for cultural reasons, and to share your struggles with someone you trust,” he said. 

“Taking that first step to seek help is critically important and will aid you or a loved one in getting well again. For example, get a walking friend to help motivate you to become active once again.”

Written ByGrace Sui

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