Asian American Emotional Wellness and 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 behaviours.

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.

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:Coordinator, Former UCA Executive Director and Senior Advisor,  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar Fellow, Cohort 2020 ; 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 Consultant, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar Fellow, Cohort 2020, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, University of Notre Dame Counseling Center
  • Ren Li, MBA UCA IL Board Member, UCA Illinois Chapter Coordinator
  • Tim He Youth Ambassador
  • Sandy Chen Youth Ambassador