Asian American Youth Mental Health

For the past three years, UCA has worked with Chinese American community with thousands of community members. One of the most urgent issues expressed by parents and community members is youth mental health. This concern is validated by observed students experiences and behaviors.

Due to cultural expectations, identity issues, low health literacy about mental health, stigma against mental health, and social isolation, Chinese/Asian American youth are suffering “silently” with mental illness and emotional stress. Insufficient support from families and their community, as well as lack of available Chinese speaking mental health professionals, further contributes to the problem According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) & Prevention (2016), in general, Asian Americans report fewer mental health concerns compared to White Americans

  • 18.9 percent of Asian American high school students report considering suicide, versus 15.5 percent of white high school students.

  • 10.8 percent of Asian American high school students report having attempted suicide, versus 6.2 percent of white high school students.

  • Asian American high school females are twice as likely (15 percent) to have attempted suicide than their male peers (7 percent)

  • Suicide death rates are 30 percent higher for 15-24 year old Asian American females than they are for white females (5.3 versus 4.0)In order to meet the urgent needs of our community, United Chinese Americans (UCA), a national coalition of Chinese Americans dedicated to civic engagement, youth development, and heritage-sharing (www.ucsusa.org), has worked with its chapters to address mental health issues facing the community. UCA has taken a leap of faith to tackle this issue with very limited resources and funding, collaborating with its Illinois chapter (il.ucausa.org) and community partners to organize 12 youth mental conferences in Chicago (2), Minnesota (1), Wisconsin (2), Ohio (3), Nevada(1), San Francisco (1), and at the 2016 and 2018 Chinese American Conventions (2) in Washington, DC.We also are building a Chinese American mental health network with other organizations and individuals including Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness, also affiliated with Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry; the Pacific, Education, Advocacy, Research, Learning (PEARL) Institute of New York, affiliated with New York University’s (NYU) Silver School of Social Work; a staff psychologist at the University of Notre Dame’s Counseling Department; and mental health discussion groups with on social media, including WeChat, an app-based platform popular among Chinese Americans. We also support many community organizations in their efforts to educate our community about youth mental health.


UCA Youth Mental Health Initiative Team Members

  • Lily Chen *, RN, MA, CNE Coordinator, Former UCA Executive Director; Confirmed RWJ Clinical Scholar applicant; Lecturer, North Carolina Central University Department of Nursing

  • Paul Li: Ph.D. : UCA Board member and Co-coordinator; Founder, Calvin J Li Foundation

  • Weiyang Xie*, Ph.D. UCA Expert Team Lead, Confirmed RWJ Clinical Scholar Applicant; Licensed Clinical Psychologist, University of Notre Dame Counseling Center

  • Ren Li, MBA UCA IL Board Member, UCA IL Porgram Coordinator

  • Tim He Youth Ambassador

  • Sandy Chen Youth Ambassador

WAVES – UCA Youth Mental Health Collaborative


A Supportive and Engaging Community that Fosters Healthy and Holistic Development of Our Youths


Raise Awareness of Cultural Identity and Mental Health Challenges Young Asian Americans Face due to familial, cultural, and societal factors Develop Community Support and Resources for Youth Mental Health Promote Cultural Sensitivity to Psychological Well-Being and Responses Encourage Civic Engagement in Public Policies to Address Mental Health Issues

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UCA WAVES 项目正式立项,如火如荼进入社区服务


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