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Students working closely with School of Medicine and UNC leadership are advocating for improved mental health care for AAPI-identifying students. Over 1,150 people have signed the open petition requesting access to AAPI counselors through CAPS.

In response to the domestic terror event on March 16th and the ensuing coverage, we – members and allies of the AAPI community at UNC – request representation of AAPI providers within UNC Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Although AAPI students are the largest minority group on campus, currently no UNC CAPS providers self-identify as AAPI.

On March 16th, a White domestic terrorist assassinated eight people in three massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia, six of whom were Asian women. This incident of domestic terror was the culmination of a half-decade of racist rhetoric from Former President Donald Trump, members of his administration, and other prominent Americans that they escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data collected by Stop AAPI Hate, there were 3,800 incidents against AAPI individuals from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021 – 1,200 more incidents than over the same period last year. Importantly, AAPI women were 2.3 times as likely as men to report anti-Asian hate incidents, drawing clear intersectionality between AAPI and female identities. This horrible act of domestic terror language is the latest in a long history of anti-AAPI racism within the U.S., from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to present-day disparities in employment and housing opportunities.

Although anti-AAPI racism and xenophobia is not new, AAPI students at UNC lack institutional support to adequately care for their mental health. Although UNC has fantastic counselors within our CAPS and has expanded care for Black, Indigenous, and Students of Color through the Multicultural Health Program, none of the CAPS counselors identify as AAPI. As such, AAPI students are forced to look outside of campus to find health professionals who can ground behavioral health interventions in a shared experience of anti-AAPI racism and xenophobia within the U.S. Given the significant deductible and coinsurance costs within the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Student Blue Plan, having an outside provider for short- or long-term care is inaccessible for many students.

We ask that UNC CAPS receives funding to widen its representation of AAPI identities among its counselor staff, in addition to continuing to improve representation for other marginalized groups. We strongly believe that this motion will protect AAPI students not only from suboptimal therapeutic relationships but also the potential financial harm of seeking mental health care outside of CAPS.

We stand against racism, xenophobia, misogyny, White supremacy, classism, and other structures of power that aid and abet harmful acts, from domestic terrorism to microaggressions, against all marginalized groups. We believe that the expansion of representation among UNC CAPS to include AAPI identities and expand representation for other identities will ultimately improve care for our marginalized student groups.

See also April 14, 2021 Vital Signs post Asian American Student Leaders Present Petition for Expanded CAPS Counselor Diversity to Chancellor

Google form link Sign petition and link to resources here