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Where can you get counseling in an Asian language?

May 27, 2011
by News release
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A new report shows that only 2 percent (291) of the nation’s 13,513 substance abuse treatment facilities provide counseling services in various Asian languages. The report also showed that the proportion of facilities offering these services varied by geographic region.

The report issued today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in conjunction with Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, brings attention to the counseling services being offered in Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Tagalog or Vietnamese, and the benefit to the community.

According to the report, the percentage of facilities offering counseling services in these languages ranged from a high of 4 percent (162 facilities) in the west to a low of 1 percent (22 facilities) in the south.

In terms of the language services offered, Tagalog was the most commonly provided Asian language service provided in facilities located in the west (63 facilities) while Chinese language services were the most commonly provided by facilities located in the other regions of the country—northeast (25 facilities), midwest (17 facilities) and south (9 facilities).

“SAMHSA estimates half a million Asian American adults need substance abuse treatment and language should not be a barrier to care,” said SAMHSA Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, JD. “Offering services that build on cultural strengths and the language spoken by the client are essential to helping people overcome behavioral health problems and achieving recovery.”

SAMHSA Spotlight: Availability of Asian Language Substance Abuse Treatment Counselors Varies by Region, was developed as part of SAMHSA’s strategic initiative on data, outcomes, and quality—an effort to inform policy makers and service providers on the nature and scope of behavioral health issues.

The report is based on data from the 2009 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS). N-SSATS is an annual census of substance abuse treatment facilities that provides data on the location and characteristics of alcohol and drug abuse treatment services throughout the United States.

The Spotlight report is available on the web at www.samhsa.gov.