The purpose of Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative (AASPI) is to reduce suicide in Asian American communities in Illinois by education, training, advocacy, and research initiatives.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


All of us at Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative (AASPI) wish you HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Chick back next year for updates, news and events.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Clinician Referral Directory

Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative (AASPI) and Asian Health Coalition of Illinois (AHCI)

2008 Illinois Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Clinician Referral Directory

About the Clinician Referral Directory

The Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative (AASPI) and the Asian Health Coalition of Illinois (AHCI) developed this clinician referral directory as a resource for individuals, families, and service providers. This directory includes providers who currently provide direct mental health services to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals in Illinois. Clinicians listed in this directory self-reported the services that they currently provide and the languages spoken in their offices. To view the directory, please click here. If you would like to be included in the next edition of this directory, please complete this form and email it to Dr. Usha Menon at umenon@uic.edu.

About AASPI and AHCI

The Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative (AASPI) was created in 2004, in response to the suicides of six Illinois Asian Americans within one month. AASPI’s mission is to reduce suicide in Asian American communities in Illinois and our activities include education and training programs for community members and clinicians. For more information, please visit www.aaspi.blogspot.com.

The Asian Health Coalition of Illinois (AHCI) was created by community members and health care providers in December 1996, and received non-profit status in 1998. AHCI’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in Illinois through advocacy, technical assistance, education, and community-based research. For more information, please visit www.asianhealth.org.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Family Suicide Risk in US Asians?

For many Asian Americans, the family is a pivotal force. It may provide their main source of strength and support, but when things go wrong, it may also be their greatest torment.

Psychologists at the University of California, Davis, say that conflict within the family appears to affect Asian Americans more adversely than other negative factors, such as depression or poverty — to the point of increasing their risk of suicide. The new findings are based on a preliminary analysis of data collected from in-person interviews with more than 2,000 Asian Americans, aged 18 or older, as part of the federally funded 2003 National Latino and Asian American Study. The author of the new paper, whose data were presented Aug. 17 at the American Psychological Association meeting in Boston, seeks to highlight how profound the impact of the family may be for many Asian Americans — something that many mental-health professionals may not fully appreciate when dealing with an ethnic minority that is often reluctant to seek counseling.

"In general, Asian Americans are not likely to talk about their psychological problems," says Stanley Sue, a professor of psychology and Asian American studies at U.C. Davis. "Community practitioners notice that Asian Americans are less likely to self-disclose their personal problems." Studies suggest that Asian Americans are also less likely than other groups to use mental health services in cases where it may help, Sue says, preferring to rely on culturally acceptable traditions of discipline and family order.

"Because of the great emphasis on harmony and family integration in many Asian cultures, family conflict is an important factor to consider when studying suicidal behaviors among Asian Americans," says Sue. His analysis finds that 2.7% of the Asian Americans interviewed reported having attempted suicide at some point during their lives; the figure falls in line with the lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts in the general population: estimated to be anywhere from 1% to 4.6%. Overall, suicide accounts for less than 1% of deaths yearly in the U.S. — there were about 11 suicides per 100,000 people in 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — and the suicide success rate among Asian Americans (as well as Latinos and African Americans) is actually slightly lower than that of white Americans.

The point is not that Asian Americans attempt suicide any more or less often than other ethnic groups. Rather, Sue's findings suggest there may be an important difference in the risk factors that lead to their attempts. By mining the data with his lead investigator Janice Cheng, a U.C. Davis psychology graduate student, Sue found that family conflict was a significant predictor of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among Asian Americans, independent of depression, low income or gender. The risk of suicide among Asian Americans with family problems was triple the risk of other Asian Americans, even factoring for depression.

Previous studies have shown, however, that certain sub-groups of the Asian American community have higher rates of suicide compared with the nation as a whole — in particular, older Chinese women and Asian American students. In the former case, the trigger may be the disruption of the family. "We can only speculate that it may be that a lot of these women are dedicated to family and they live long lives," says Sue. But, eventually, the children leave the house and "without that kind of extended family, [older women] may be more likely to commit suicide," Sue says.

Among students, meanwhile, the problem may have to do with family expectations. "Although we don't have good statistics [yet], we believe that many Asian American students are prone to feeling depressed over a lack of achievement," Sue says. Getting Bs instead of As on a report card may not seem like a great sin to most students, Sue says. But in a culture and family structure where sacrifice by an older generation for the advancement — and education — of its children is a deep-seated tenet, feelings of shame for "failing" can become unbearable, Sue says, noting that this pattern is most evident in families with immigrant parents and among foreign students sent to study at U.S. universities by their families.

Though so many Asian cultures hold family relationships in high regard, those problems that originate within the family can be the most difficult to solve, Sue says. Unable to turn to their families for help and reluctant to seek mental health care, troubled people often attempt to work problems out on their own, adding pressure to an already strained situation filled with feelings of shame or guilt. "Our study suggests that we need to more precisely determine the kinds of family conflicts that are associated with suicide risk among Asian Americans, and find means of preventing these family problems," Sue says.

The above story appeared on the Time.com website. Click the post title to see original.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Webinar on GLBTQ Youth and Suicide Prevention featuring Brian Mustanski Sep 4

Hi all,
My name I Edmond Yomtoob and I am the Illinois Chapter President of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. We are hosting a webinar on GLBTQ youth and suicide prevention featuring Brian Mustanski at The University of Illinois at Chicago. It will be Thursday, 09/04/08 7:30-8:45 pm Central time. All you have to do is sign up, sit in front of your computer and learn. Registration is free. Just e-mail us at Illinois@AFSP.org

Please feel free to join us and pass this along. It is appropriate for people who work with youth, people who
work with gay youth, people who work in the LBGTQ community, people who people who work with grief (especially to suicide) and people who work on suicide prevention.

Students are welcome. Unfortunately, we can not offer CEU's

Because it is on the web, anyone around the world can join us. So send it to anyone who you think may be interested wherever they may be.

Help me make this a huge success. Thanks.

Edmond Yomtoob, Psy.D.
(773) 450-4434


Are you an Asian American mental health provider -- (psychiatrist, psychologist, master’s level counselor, social worker, or psychiatric nurse)? Do you serve Asian American clients?

The Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative (AASPI) invites you to share your ideas, opinions, and knowledge about what needs to be done to PREVENT suicide in Asian Americans in a focus group discussion with other mental health providers.

What: A research study of Asian American Mental Health Providers perceptions and opinions on suicide prevention. The study is supported by a pilot grant from the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services.

• Duration: 2 hours
• Refreshments --- Will be served
• Parking --- Will be reimbursed by UIC
• Compensation --- A gift coupon of $25.00 as a token of gratitude

Where: TBD

When: Wednesday, September 3, 2008, 6:30 --- 8:30 p.m.
6:30 – 6:50 -- Refreshments and registration
7:00 – 8:30 -- Focus group discussion, we will start punctually!

When: Saturday, September 13, 2008, 9:30 --- 11:30 a.m.
9:30 – 9:50 -- Refreshments and registration
10:00– 11:30 --Focus group discussion, we will start punctually!

(Select one of the above groups to participate in)

For further information please contact Aruna Jha, Ph.D. at arunajha@uic.edu, or Joanna Su at joannasu@mac.com (773-307-7008). Thanks!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative at NOPCAS Conference

Dear Friends,

You are cordially invited to the Seeking Light in the Darkness break-out sessions on February 8, 2008 at the National Organization for People of Color against Suicide (NOPCAS) 10th Anniversary Conference. The Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative (AASPI) will facilitate these sessions as part of the NOPCAS conference to be held on February 7-9, 2008 at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel.

Seeking Light in the Darkness is an experiential workshop where Asian American/Asian suicide survivors and health care providers who work with Asian American/Asian communities can speak, listen, and support one another about depression, suicide, and suicide prevention.

For details, click on the title of this post or go to www.nopcas.org and click on the "register for 10th Annual Conference" button on the left side. We hope to see you there!

Aruna Jha, AASPI Vice-President
Joanna Su, AASPI President
Eliza Noh, Professor at CSU-Fullerton

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

"Finding Iris Chang" Reading & Discussion

Dear AASPI Friends,

AASPI is pleased to co-sponsor the event below which is organized by the Asian American Bar Association’s (AABA) Community Service Committee (please see attached flyer). Author Paula Kamen, who had known acclaimed author Iris Chang since college, writes about Chang’s background and events leading to her death by suicide at age 36 in 2004. Kamen’s book addresses the stigma of mental illness in the Asian American community, Chang's feelings of guilt over her son's autism, her veneer of perfection and the deterioration of her mental state.

Following the reading, AASPI will be facilitating an informal discussion at a nearby restaurant (details tbd). Please share this invitation with your friends and colleagues, and if you can join us, please rsvp to me at joanna@aaichicago.org.

Thanks so much,


Finding Iris Chang

A Reading By Paula Kamen

January 17, 2008

6 P.M. Thursday

Barnes & Noble
1 East Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL

Sponsored by the Asian American Bar Association (AABA) Community Service Committee

Light refreshments served

The Community Service Committee of AABA presents a book reading by Paula Kamen. In this intimate and inquisitive biography, Kamen examines letters, diaries, archives, and personal correspondence to shed light on the enigmatic life and death of a brilliant Asian American woman in the prime of her career. As an Illinois native, Iris’ internal struggles resonate with Chicagoland’s Asian Americans.

For more information, contact Betty Jang, 630.207.8088
Cosponsors: Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative