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.
After the violence against Asian American women in Atlanta on March 16th, a group of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students and allies is encouraging UNC to invest in the well-being of students and provide access to identity-concordant mental health care. In coordination with the UNC chapter of the Asian and Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA), students distributed a petition to expand AAPI support through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
In the wake of national grief following the violence, AAPI students discovered that CAPS does not employ a single AAPI-identifying counselor, despite AAPI students representing the largest minority group on campus. The current situation forces AAPI students to seek off-campus mental health care to see providers who can address their unique experiences and challenges. Even with student health insurance, deductibles and other fees can make this cost-prohibitive.
CAPS does offer a Multicultural Health Program that specifically addresses racial trauma through counseling and group therapy. The students leading the current effort and the people who have signed the petition aim to support CAPS director, Dr. Allen O’Barr, and Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz in obtaining funding and hiring the necessary professionals to provide appropriate mental health care for AAPI and all BIPOC students. Students leading this cause are enrolled in the School of Social Work and School of Medicine and include Su Cho, Jennie Yang, Michelle Ikoma, Bao-Tran “BT” Parker, Colin Godwin, Rebecca Rubinstein, and Zach Fisher. Their work was also featured on the front page of The Daily Tar Heel and will be included in an article in Inside Higher Ed.
As of April 13th, over 1150 individuals associated with UNC have signed the petition, which is available here. Of more than 200 AAPI-identifying signees, 90% stated that CAPS did not have adequate resources to support their mental health.