University of California – Berkeley

University of California - Berkeley
Garrett Lee Smith Campus

The initiative at the University of California, Berkeley is called the Asian-Pacific Islander Early Intervention Program (Cal-APEIP). The program supports a comprehensive and coordinated approach to prevent suicide and attempted suicide, focusing on the issues of Asian-Pacific Islander (API) students; their parents/families; and key faculty, staff, and student leaders.

Almost 35% of Berkeley students are API, representing multiple cultures, languages, socioeconomics, and immigrant generations. This presents a challenge in addressing health and mental health needs. Research shows API students may be at particular risk for mental health concerns and suicide, and may be less likely to utilize mental health services. At Berkeley, API students make up only 20% of visits to mental health services. This tendency to underutilize or delay services may lead to distress being more acute upon entry into the system. Despite the diversity among API students, there are shared cultural elements to consider when addressing mental health needs. These may provide protective factors, but also may contribute to higher risk (e.g., emphasis on academic success; importance of family and community; the large percentage of API students being immigrants or from recent-immigrant families).

We plan to:

  • Increase the knowledge of API students and their families about mental health and suicide, addressing stigma, and normalizing help-seeking.
  • Increase the capacity of faculty, staff, and student leaders to identify, respond to, assist, and refer API students at risk.
  • Strengthen the campus safety network for API students with mental health needs and at risk for suicide, and increasing the campus community’s knowledge of this network.