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Asian-American young adults are the only racial group to commit suicide as the leading cause of death

Credit: PIXTA / CC0 public domain

Racially motivated violence looks like a mass shooting that killed Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Chung Park, Hyun Grant, and Suncha Kim in Atlanta on March 16, 2021. Racially motivated violence also looks like suicide. He used violence to injure himself and kill him.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By race, suicide is the first leading cause of death in young Asian-American adults aged 15 to 24 years. This is not the case for other racial groups in this age group in the United States.

Despite this disparity, gatekeepers such as society, academies, private and public funding agencies pay little attention to the causes of suicidal behavior among racial minorities such as Asian Americans. not. There is not enough research on how to prevent suicide, especially for Asian Americans. What makes this study even more difficult is that it is also the racial group that Asian Americans are least likely to use for mental health services.

I am a PhD candidate studying public health with a focus on studying minority mental health inequality. I think it’s important to know how violence, suicide, and inequality all affect the lives of Asian Americans.

Beyond risk factors

When an Asian-American’s death is caused by suicide, it’s not just because he experienced a risk factor. Indeed, evidence suggests that if the house has easily accessible means such as a gun, or if you know someone who died from suicide, you are at increased risk of attempted suicide. But is it the big picture for Asian Americans, or even for other racial minorities?

The truth is that people studying suicide are trying to come up with a profile of who is “at risk” in order to accurately predict and ultimately prevent suicidal behavior and death. .. Today, much research is spent on the development of computer algorithms and genetic biomarkers to accurately calculate who is at risk. Do these methods justify the racialized experience of being Asian American in the United States?

The only national survey of Asian American mental health

So the problem is: How can research scientists understand and develop suicide prevention efforts to accurately address racial minorities like Asian Americans? To answer this question, we first need a study of Asian Americans.

Unfortunately, the first, only and last study to evaluate national epidemiological prevalence estimates of mental illness in the Asian-American community was published almost 20 years ago in the early 2000s. .. Since these data were collected, the Asian population of the United States has grown by 72% by 2015, making Asians the fastest growing racial or ethnic group beyond Hispanics.

In my view, Asian-American suicide is an unaddressed issue, and in a fast-growing community there is little or no direction on how to stop it and it can lead to endemic disease. There is sex.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0/Rb8PfBPCgpg

Comic Anna Akana talks about the stigma of Asian-American mental health problems.

Centuries of stigma

What if there was a way to scientifically explain racism as the root cause of health inequalities? The answer is to understand the stigma.

Stigmatized identity is arguably a universal phenomenon. Stigmatized people are undesired by society, have negative stereotypes, are rejected, are excluded, and eventually become strangers. Asian Americans have institutionally experienced this type of stigma since the early days of modern America, when racial classification began to solidify.

As the United States continues to racialize Asian Americans, it continues its legacy of structural violence and historical trauma. This means that anti-Asian violence exists within the very structure of American society. This social oppression and violence is internalized into suicide, self-harm, and ultimately suicide, self-harm.

But when it comes to becoming Asian in America, the story is incomplete just by looking at race. There are many violently oppressive systems facing Asian Americans, which overlap with the risk of voluntary violence. These are essentially intersecting. It is the cross-section, or cross-section, of Asian-American identities that must be scrutinized to reveal insights into suicide prevention in this incredibly diverse community.

For example, being an immigrant and experiencing alien exclusion is the predominant experience for many Asian Americans. Many people have lived in the United States for several generations, but Asian Americans make up the majority of the second generation of adults today. Second-generation immigrants are people born in the United States who have at least one foreign-born parent.

Why is it important to know this?

Current trends show that the United States is exploding into an immigrant-rich country. It is estimated that more than 36% of all Americans will be immigrants by 2050. That is, 1st or 2nd generation. By that time, the overwhelming majority (93%) of the country’s working-age population will be from immigrants. Too. Here’s the problem: Second-generation migrants are considered a group at risk of suicidal behavior and death by researchers around the world. Researchers are not yet completely sure why, and that’s why this study is so timely.

Complex and time-consuming problems

It takes decades to carry out the research. It also takes decades to understand the problem and how to deal with it. Public health scientists working on the study of inequality are aware of the complex problems faced by minority groups such as Asian Americans. Interventions to end racism and alien exclusion would probably save the lives of many Asian Americans from both murder and suicide.

In reality, white supremacy is so deeply practiced in the United States that reversing racism cannot reverse the disparity in health outcomes such as suicide. This is because the assimilation is “traumatic”. This means that racist and alien exclusionary violence and traumatic exposure to discrimination retain the power to disrupt psychological and physiological functions and alter the genetic code of the next generation. To do. Race-based traumatic stress has the potential to make the entire population, the entire community, such as Asian Americans, vulnerable to voluntary violence.

In my view, all you have to do is work to change the norms of inclusion. It doesn’t take years of research to do that. Get started now. Act locally. This is the first step.


Data decomposition shows a surprising health inequalities among Asian Americans


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Asian-American young adults are the only racial group to commit suicide as the leading cause of death

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