Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a celebration of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Pacific Clinics pays tribute to the generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have worked to advance mental health, culturally relevant services, and the well-being of our diverse communities.


Shining a Light on API Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19
Pacific Clinics' Divisional Director, Terry Gock, PhD, will serve as a panelist on Shining a Light on API Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19. This webinar, taking place on May 15, will address key issues including: mental health in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) populations, including the impact of racism; the relationship between mental and physical health; strategies to cope with COVID-19 and trauma; and creating healthy communities beyond the pandemic. This webinar is hosted by Asian American Psychological Association, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations and Pacific Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center. REGISTER

We offer culturally and linguistically responsive services to address the needs of the diverse communities we serve. Our decades of community-based work has earned us the trust and respect of many underserved and hard-to-reach populations. Our staff are reflective of the clients they serve, making outreach and treatment more effective. Founded in 1986, the Asian Pacific Family Center (APFC) has provided culturally competent field-based and site-based programs in positive youth development, substance abuse and gang violence prevention, bicultural parenting education and family support in addition to mental health counseling and treatment services. These services are provided in Cambodian, Cantonese, Chiu Chow, English, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Taiwanese, Toi San, and Vietnamese. Other services include integrated physical health, behavioral health outreach and education, and wellness peer support for adults, and more.


The Legacy of an Asian Pacific American Civil Rights Leader
K. Patrick Okura, UCLA's first Japanese American to earn a master’s degree in psychology in 1935, was among the 120,000 Japanese Americans interned during World War II. He and his wife, Lily, later co-founded the Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation, an organization foundation to support and promote the psychosocial well-being of all people, particularly those of Asian ancestry. READ ARTICLE

Recognizing a Family of Pioneers in Mental Health
Derald Wing Sue, PhD and Stanley Sue, PhD are first generation, Chinese Americans from Portland, Oregon who dedicate their work to advancing knowledge to support the mental health of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In 1972, the Sue brothers founded the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) to advance Asian American psychology and advocate on behalf of Asian Americans. READ ARTICLE

Also, read a Q&A with Dr. Darold Sue on the importance of cultural competency. READ ARTICLE

More than 19 million people in the United States identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander, and of that population, more than 13% were diagnosed with a mental illness in the past year.


Sources of stress that can affect mental health for AAPI communities:

  • Parental pressure to succeed in academics
  • Pressure to live up to the "model minority" stereotype (a view that inaccurately portrays Asian Americans as successfully integrating into mainstream culture and having overcome the challenges of racial bias)
  • Family obligations based on strong traditional and cultural values
  • Discrimination due to racial or cultural background
  • Difficulty in balancing two different cultures and developing a bicultural sense of self

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are least likely to seek mental health services than other Americans:


Racial/Ethnic Differences in Mental Health Service Use among Adults