FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
9/24/2009

CONTACT: Sonja Choi
2123445878, Ext:23
sonja.choi@aafederation.org


Asian American Elderly Suicide Prevention

asian american elderly suicide prevention

NEW YORK- Hamilton-Madison House, The Asian American Federation, and The New York Coalition for Asian American Mental Health will hold an Elderly Asian Women Suicide Prevention Public Awareness Campaign Press Conference on Thursday, September 24th from 2:00 - 3:00 pm at the Korean American Senior Center of Flushing located 42-15 166th, Flushing, New York 11358

NYS Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera and Dr. Lloyd Sederer, Medical Director of the NYS Office of Mental Health as well as Dr. Tsunetaka Yoshida from the Consulate-General of Japan, will be in attendance to support this public awareness and education event.

This suicide prevention campaign is an important initiative for the Asian Community. Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), compared to 11th leading cause of death for the general population in the United States. Elderly Asian American/Pacific

Islander women have higher rates of suicide than older Caucasian and African American women. The rate of suicide increases to 7.95 per 100,000 for Asian women who are 75 years of age and older, compared to 4.18 for white and 1.18 for black women of the same age group (Centers of Disease

Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

(http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html).

Research studies have indicated that most elderly Asian women suffer from untreated depression, which could be a major suicide risk factor. Other contributing factors and barriers include: unwillingness to access mental health treatment due to the strong stigma relating to mental illness, lack of knowledge about available resources, shortage of providers with appropriate language skills, personal attitude about self reliant and wishing not to be a burden to family members, and issues

related to isolation and difficulties adapting to the US culture.

A comprehensive campaign to raise public awareness on this very serious mental health issue has been funded through grants from the NYS Office of Mental Health. This campaign, an initiative made possible through Assemblyman Peter Rivera, will target elderly Asian women directly and through links with their families, community and primary care systems. The content of the campaign will be culturally and linguistically relevant to various targeted Asian subgroups, and disseminated through preferred local media and community stakeholders.

This press conference will be an important component in spotlighting the problem of high suicide rate among elderly Asian women and to disseminate a strong message that “it’s time to gather together to honor and care for the elderly Asian women in our community.”