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Area of Theological Focus

Mental Health

The first focal area concerning race is incomplete without addressing the inner effects of racialization. The wounds, traumas, and dysfunctions shaped by our social environments have negative effects on our emotional and personal life. This is often manifested in depression, violence, anxiety, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, dysfunctional relationships, etc. If healing, wholeness, and spiritual transformation are the aims of Asian American religious ministries, then we need to understand the whole person in their life situation. The CAAC creates programming and resources that address mental health issues among Asian American clergy and lay people that draw on the latest insights from experts and practitioners. CAAC mental health conferences also feature practical workshops that provide research-based practices that faith leaders can implement immediately to support their communities.

Asian Americans have some of the lowest rates of treatment for mental health issues while also experiencing high rates of mental distress and serious mental illness. In addition to the stigma attached to seeking mental health support within Asian communities, Christian culture can make the situation worse by minimizing the need to seek professional help. Furthermore, the anxiety, social isolation, and internalized racism associated with the COVID pandemic has further intensified the situation. Asian American theology and ministry should address the spiritual formation of the whole person and their healing, and this often includes addressing mental health issues.