More culturally specific mental-health services are needed in Twin Cities

I am a Hmong-American, currently getting my social-work degree and interning at a culturally specific agency. I have seen that this service has helped improve many Asian-Americans’ mental illness in St. Paul. I see that there are so many people who have mental illness and there aren’t enough outpatient agencies to provide the help they need. There should be more mental-health agencies that are culturally specific in the metro area, because so many people from this part of the state are immigrants and Asian-Americans.

Some of my family members experienced mental illness, but there weren’t many outpatient services available to provide them the resources they needed. The only thing that helped them was seeing their therapist, but in some cases this didn’t help them enough. Also, as Asian-Americans, they found that there weren’t many services that understood how to help them within the cultural context. The agencies didn’t address culture and just placed my family members with whichever therapists were available, and this caused the mental illness to get worse.

I hope that there will be an increased funding to open more culturally specific mental-health services. With this increased investment, risks of suicide and hospitalization could be reduced. This would help Minnesota spend less money on hospitalizations and other expensive mental-health treatments. Instead, patients would be better served with less costly, culturally specific outpatient care.

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