There Are Not Enough Asian Therapists
Asian Americans need mental health services but cannot find fellow Asian Americans therapists. This is a problem.
Ihen I sought therapy in the past, I tried to find a fellow Asian American female therapist. While there were many female therapists available in my area, I didn’t come across a single Asian American female therapist. All four of the therapists I have used over the last four years are Caucasian. When I stopped to think about it though, it was not a surprise at all that it was difficult to find an Asian American therapist.
A quick search for therapists on a mental health professionals directory revealed there are very few Asian American therapists compared to therapists of other ethnicities in several major cities in the United States. On the directory, run by the startup Zencare which aims to smooth the process of connecting to an online therapist, zero of the therapists in the directory for Seattle were Asian. 2% of therapists in the directory for Boston were Asian and it was 4% in New York City. Even though New York City fared the best among the three cities, it only had 16 female Asian therapists and 3 male therapists.
The lack of options in Asian American therapists means it may be more difficult for Asian Americans to get the specialized mental health care they need to face their family, personal, and relationship issues. It can be difficult if you are seeking therapy to articulate a struggle they are facing, or to realize that the issue they have is actually a common issue faced by many of their ethnicity and gender. Having a therapist who has gone through similar challenges and understands your culture on a nuanced level allows the therapist to tailor their advice specifically to your needs.
When the statistics regarding mental health need and services availability is compared, it becomes clear that is a significant gap between the prevalence of mental distress among the Asian American population and a lack of educational and professional resources to address mental health needs of this community. Not only that, there is no evidence that a pipeline of future resources such as Asian American therapists exists. This means the current gap in need and resources is unlikely to change in the near…