MASSACHUSETTS: How Wellesley Plans to Address Suicide among Its Asian American Students

September 16, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News
Speaker:  Massachusetts


Starting this fall, Wellesley College will implement a suicide prevention intervention for Asian American students that will include culturally competent counseling and group support. The intervention is based on findings from the Asian Women’s Action for Resilience and Empowerment (AWARE) research study, conducted by Boston University researcher Hyeouk Chris Hahm and funded by the National Institutes of Health. According to recent federal data, Asian American women between the ages of 18 and 24 have among the highest suicide rates of females in that age group. Findings from the AWARE study suggest that young Asian American women born to immigrant parents are often reluctant to seek help when they are struggling. Said Hahm, “Asian American women feel that there is no appropriate, culturally sensitive mental health services specifically for [them].” With a student body that is nearly one-fourth Asian, Wellesley College will be the first school in the country to carry out the intervention. Stephen Chen, a Wellesley psychology professor, said, “We believe that the whole student needs to be supported and that for students to understand themselves, they need to understand their own history, family structure, cultural background, as well as the gendered and racial structures that influence the way they see themselves and are seen by others.”

Spark Extra! Learn more about suicide prevention among Asian Americans.