N.Y. Mental Health Providers Reach Out to Chinese Americans After September 11th

From early 2002 to early 2004, the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, the only community health center in New York City's Chinatown neighborhood, expanded its mental health services to address the needs of the Chinese-American community following the September 11th terrorist attack in Manhattan.

The September 11th terrorist attack had a devastating effect on the Chinatown community, which is only blocks from Ground Zero, and increased referrals to the health center for mental health services.

Because there is often a social stigma associated with seeking mental health care in this population, Chinese Americans may be severely ill or in crisis before they receive any mental health services, according to the project director.

Key Results

The project accomplished the following:

  • The health center now screens in-clinic adult patients for depression during their physical exams. In 2003, there were 3,991 patient health questionnaire screenings done.
  • From 2001 to 2002, the number of mental health encounters at the health center increased from 1,950 to 3,532; from 2002 to 2003, the number of encounters rose to 4,350.
  • Staff at the Bridge Program conducted 16 training sessions for primary care providers and other medical staff.
  • Bridge Program staff conducted six workshops for the public about September 11th-related mental health issues in older adults and adolescents.
  • Bridge Program staff conducted six training sessions at health and community centers and schools in New York City focused on the mental health issues of adolescents.
  • Bridge Program clinicians and health educators hosted two community education radio hotline programs on post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues related to the terrorist attacks.