March 8, 2009
To the editor:
New York City has always valued opportunity, equality, and community. The Department of Education boasts every year about the NYC public school students’ progress, diversity, and good treatments. Then why are the Asian American children and teenagers more likely to be prone to depression citing pressure to succeed in school as a primary source of stress and anxiety? [1] In New York City in 1999, suicide was one of the ten leading causes of death for Asian Americans of all ages, but was not a leading cause of death for any other racial group. [2] 30% of Asian American girls in grades 5-12 reported suffering form depressive symptoms. Asian American boys were more likely than their White, Black and Hispanic peers to report physical or sexual abuse. And Asian Americans girls reported the highest rates of depressive symptoms compared to White, Black and Hispanic girls.3
New York City neglects the social/emotional needs of Asian American public school students. The students lack the knowledge of appropriate and competent mental health resources for Asian American public school students. Since most Asian Americans view mental health as a “taboo”, the city should take the initiative to increase alternatives to guidance counselors. In addition, if students do prefer one on one counseling, the counselors should be culturally competent by providing training for guidance counselors. Asian Americans consist of 12% of the NYC public school students, and addressing their mental health issues can significantly ameliorate their lives.

Tsechu Dolma
The Renaissance Charter School Class 2010
CACF: Asian American Students Advocacy Project 09

[2] Summary of Vital Statistics 1999, The City of New York. Office of Vital Statistics, New York City Department of Health.