Asian american issues

“Don’t ever think that just because you do things differently, you’re wrong.”

Gail Tsukiyama

For many Asian Americans Pacific Islanders, understanding what it means to “be yourself,” is complicated by constantly having to juggle multiple different worlds. Asian Americans are often raised with a plethora of mixed messages. American society deems Asians as the “model minority,” expecting us to be academic leaders in our classes, yet won’t give us a seat at the table in visible places of leadership such as politics, media, or the C-suite. Many Asian parents encourage assimilation as a means of financial and career success, but disapprove of sons or daughters when their lifestyles don’t match the values of their cultural heritages. The US loves incorporating Asian food and style into American branded products in the form of fusion food or Asian inspired art and clothing, yet Asian American people are perpetually cast in the light of “foreign” or “other.” As a result, Asian Americans often wear multiple faces, switching between one persona at home, another at work, and yet another with friendseven then tailoring themselves to the racial and ethnic makeup of these friends.


When it comes to romantic relationships, this dynamic is even more complex. Whether in an Asian or cross-racial relationship, difference will always be an issue because of the diversity of Asian American experiences and identities. Add to this the fetishization of Asian women and the emasculation of Asian men in popular American culturebeing seen and accepted for who you truly are seems daunting in an age of mis– and under-represenation of Asians in America.


As a second generation Korean-Chinese American who has faced my own struggles with prejudice, difference, and identity, I am passionate about working with Asian-Americans who are seeking to understand their identities as Asian-Americans and how their unique experiences and perspectives impact their relationships with themselves and others. I am a strong advocate for increasing mental health support and decreasing stigma around therapy for Asian Americans. Relative to other U.S. populations, Asian Americans are 3 times less likely to seek mental health services. And yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • 18.9 percent of Asian American high school students report considering suicide, versus 15.5 percent of whites.
  • 10.8 percent of Asian American high school students report having attempted suicide, versus 6.2 percent of whites.
  • Suicide death rates are 30 percent higher for 15-24 year-old Asian American females than they are for white females 
  • Suicide death rates for 65+ year-old Asian American females are higher than they are for white females 

Many of us are suffering silently and alone. This should not be when there is loving help available.

Whether diagnosed with a “mental disorder” or not, I believe in the importance of mental health and wellness for all. There is no shame in investing in your emotional growth and wellbeing no matter how high functioning you appear to be. Whether you are suffering greatly or simply know that things could be better, I encourage you to seek the support you need. Contact me today with any questions or concerns you may have, and I hope to see you soon!

Interested in working together?


Fill out the form below so I can learn how to best serve you! I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and get to know you so we can see if we’d make a good fit. 


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630-384-9065 |

Stephanie Lee, LCSW | 220 Bush St. | San Francisco, CA 94110 | Google Map