The following is a letter from Michael Itti, executive director of the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs:

The State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) are working together to raise awareness about mental health among the Asian Pacific American (APAs) community. APAs are less likely to seek treatment for mental health services than all other ethnic groups according to a 2011 report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). This is largely due to social stigmas, cultural and language barriers, and lack of access to health care.

Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed July 2014 as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. During this special observance, the Commission encourages efforts to facilitate conversation about minority mental health awareness. Mental health is essential to overall well-being. Organizations like Asian Counseling and Referral Service, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization, offers a broad array of culturally and linguistically competent behavioral health and human services for diverse communities.

As we move forward with the month of July and beyond, let’s talk about the importance of mental health for all our communities.

—Michael Itti,
CAPAA Executive Director

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