Anderson Sungmin Yoon, DSW, LCSW-R, CASAC, RPT-S, ACT, The Child Center of NY’s Vice President of Integrated and Value-Based Care, is a co-editor and contributor of a newly published book, Understanding Korean Americans’ Mental Health: A Guide to Culturally Competent Practices, Program Developments, and Policies, that is being hailed as much-needed, timely, and comprehensive.
The Korean American community is one of the major Asian ethnic subgroups in the United States, and in communities The Child Center serves. As we know firsthand, members of this community often face a litany of unaddressed mental health obstacles, from the stresses of recent immigration to racism and culture clashes between Asian-born parents and American-born children. All of this can be exacerbated by the stigma that still surrounds mental health treatment in many Korean communities. But there is hope, and culturally nuanced and evidence-based treatment can bring healing to those who are suffering and help them lead healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives. In Understanding Korean Americans’ Mental Health, Dr. Yoon and the other editors examine a variety of mental health issues in the Korean American community, including depression, suicide, substance abuse, and trauma, and their connection to cultural stigma and racial prejudice.
Reaching the Asian community in NYC with culturally sensitive mental health care has been a Child Center priority since the 1990s, when we established the Asian Outreach Program. These services are more imperative than ever, as Asian communities have faced horrific racially motivated violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the cultural values that help make up the Korean American community continue to contribute to reluctance to seek care. Understanding Korean Americans’ Mental Health gathers the relatively scarce extant research on this topic to underscore the heightened prevalence of mental health issues among Korean Americans. Equally important, the book makes recommendations for more culturally competent practices, program developments, and policies.
This is an issue close to Dr. Yoon’s heart. Dr. Yoon has written extensively on issues related to mental health in the Korean community, and he has been a powerful voice on the subject in various media, from newspapers to web to radio as a regular guest on KRB, FM 87.7. Contributing to Understanding Korean Americans’ Mental Health has offered a new way to reach audiences on a large scale and make a difference.
“The primary goal of this book, the first of its kind in the Korean immigration history since 1905, is to help readers better understand Korean American mental health issues and their ongoing implications,” Dr. Yoon says. “I wanted to offer positive policies, programs, and mental health practices that will better address the Korean Americans who are dealing with mental health issues. I hope the book reaches students, professors, researchers, policymakers, and program developers, as well as mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, social workers, and mental health counselors, so they have a better understanding of Korean Americans’ mental health issues and use it to guide their practices and program developments.”
Read our staff spotlight on Dr. Yoon to lean more about his work at The Child Center of NY and beyond.