Mental Health Professionals Examine AAPI Access to Treatment, Resources
HOUSTON, May 23, 2023 — In partnership with Baylor Colleague of Medicine (BCM), Asia Society Texas hosted a panel discussion on issues related to AAPI access to mental healthcare resources. The panel featured Dr. Sophia Banu MD, MS, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at BCM; Delphine Lee, LCSW-S, MSEd., a licensed clinical social worker and Assistant Professor at BCM; Dr. Phuong Nguyen, an Associate Professor at BCM and Director of Psychology Services at Ben Taub Hospital, Dr. Peggy Yang, a faculty member at BCM, and Dr. Rose Yang, PsyD, a psychologist and faculty member at BCM. The conversation was facilitated by Dr. John Saunders, MD, MS, a psychiatrist, and a faculty member at BCM.
Help Us Build a More Inclusive World
Throughout the program, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions of the panelists. One topic discussed was common reasons why people do not seek mental healthcare, such as stigmatization. Referring particularly to AAPI communities, Dr. Nguyen considered that certain cultural values could prevent people from seeking help or taking prescribed medication. The speakers agreed on the importance of creating awareness and normalizing mental healthcare, and that communities should support people seeking treatment.
The panel also noted the challenges of navigating the healthcare system when a person needs help. Ms. Lee recommended asking a primary care physician for a referral, and Dr. Nguyen added that community networks can also help connect people with appropriate resources. The panel outlined different kinds of therapy available, such as individual, couples, and group therapies, and the importance of individuals finding the appropriate treatment for their needs and circumstances.
The speakers also explained that a psychological evaluation is a holistic process that includes many aspects of the individual’s personal and medical history to identify goals and types of viable treatments. According to Dr. Nguyen, the therapeutic process can be helpful, even if goals or a clear picture of the patient’s situation are initially unclear.
Dr. Banu pointed out that many people feel anxiety in certain moments, but when anxiety becomes so debilitating that it interferes with a person’s routine, it is time to seek professional help. Dr. Yang added that, in addition to helping treat psychological conditions like anxiety or depression, therapy can be part of a personal development process.
In response to audience questions about how discrimination relates to mental health in the AAPI and BIPOC communities, the speakers highlighted different start-up companies and networks that provide resources focusing on diverse constituencies.
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.