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Asian American Mental Health

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Asian American Mental Health: What We Know and What We Don’t Know
Joyce P. Chu and Stanley Sue
2011
Myiesha Shante Melvin
PSYC 400-D1 History and Systems in Psychology
Department of Psychology
Fayetteville State University
November 19, 2015

What are the issues regarding the mental health of Asians in the United States? Asian Americans have experienced many conflicts between their ethnic culture and the “mainstream” Americans. According to Chu & Sue (2011), there were a few research findings that arose: * There weren’t many Asian Americans who exercised their right to use the mental health system. * Those of the Asian American population that do utilize the mental health services are “highly disturbed in terms of psychiatric disorders”. (Chu & Sue, 2011) * The low utilization is what appeared to be influenced by cultural factors. * “The rates of mental disorders among Asian Americans are not extraordinarily low” (Chu & Sue, 2011). This is proven by epidemiological surveys.
There are many Asian subgroups in the United States and they are Japanese, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Filipinos, Chinese, Asian Indians, Koreans and many more. Over 30 languages are spoken throughout the many different Asian subgroups in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013), the estimated population of Asians in the United States, including those of more than one race, was 18.2 million. In 2011, Asian Americans made up 5 percent of the United States population and 60 percent of the world’s population. Although it is evident that Asian Americans are heterogeneous, the subpopulations have often been studied as an aggregate group. According to research it has been shown that for mental health problems, Asian Americans are less likely to ask for the help than other racial groups. (Meyers, 2006) Abe-Kim et al., conducted at study that showed only 8.6 percent of the Asian American population, compared to the 17.9 percent of the general population, sought mental health assistance (Spencer, Chen, Gee, Fabian, & Takeuchi, 2010). Only about 28 percent of the Asian American population who have a mental health disorder uses mental health services. This is “in contrast to the 54 percent of the general population” who also utilizes mental health services (Wang, Lane, Olfson, Pincus, Wells, & Kessler, 2005). According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, after the control for prevalence, the Asian American population were still less likely to utilize the services of mental health (Chu & Sue, 2011). Asian Americans usually prefer more informal type solutions for their mental health needs than that of mental health service professionals. They would rather look for support from different family member and/or friends. Asian Americans would also rather solve the problems on their own. If their problem worsens that is when they usually seek mental health from a professional (Chu & Sue, 2011). At estimate, about one-third of the Asians Americans who made an initial contact with any mental health professionals usually drop out before they even complete an intake session (Chu & Sue, 2011). Several factors must be taken into consideration when understanding Asian Americans and their utilization of mental health services. These factors are cultural, system and care process factors. Things like certain cultural ideas pertaining to psychological illnesses and mental health services that Asian Americans may have can possibly affect their attitude towards getting help (Chu & Sue, 2011). An important role-played in the utilization of mental health services for Asian Americans would be the “stigma and shame” concepts. According to Sue (1994), “terms that reveal concerns over the process of shame or the loss of face” are: “Haji” [Japanese], “Hiya” [Filipinos], “Mianzi” [Chinese] and “Chaemyun” [Koreans]. Many Asian Americans try to stay away from different systems, services and/or agencies such as the juvenile justice or legal systems, health services, welfare agencies and mental health agencies or services, because using these particular services may result in “public knowledge” (Chu & Sue, 2011). According to Chu & Sue (2011), in the Asian American population, system-level and care process factors contribute to the problem of mental health care differences. There are high rates of poverty and uninsured or underinsured in the Southeast Asian American population. Been in poverty as well as being uninsured or underinsured can make it hard or possibly prevent them [Asian Americans] from getting the mental health services that are needed. Some mental health services aren’t proficient in Asian-language.
There should be more Asian-language clinicians as well as culturally competent providers in mental health services so that communication can be affective. This will also allow the Asian-language clinicians and the culturally competent can provide the best mental health services and treatments with the same/similar worldviews. (Chu & Sue, 2011) It is more likely for Asian Americans to continue in treatment if they initiate contact between themselves and the mental health providers and if they encounter the culturally congruent aspects. According to Chu & Sue (2011), one of the most relevant questions the comes from the utilization of mental health services is “whether lower service use is reflective of lower needs. An important issue among Asian Americans is the prevalence of mental health disorders. What is mental health prevalence? World Health Organization (2014) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes on his or her own potential”. According to an epidemiological studies examination, it shows that Asian Americans lower use of services isn’t in correspondent with a lower services need (Chu & Sue, 2011). “The National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) constituted the first national epidemiology study of Asian Americans”. From this study, a 12-month prevalence of approximately 9.10 percent and a lifetime prevalence of approximately 17.3 percent were revealed (Chu & Sue, 2011). Over the recent years, to improve the mental health needs of Asian Americans, culturally specific service options have been put together (Chu & Sue, 2011). Cultural treatment adaptions such as evidence-based programs/practices (EBPs) are considered for cultural treatment options. EBPs that are culturally adapted, “systematically consider language, culture, and contextual issues consistent with clients’ cultural values, beliefs and practices” (Chu & Sue, 2011). With cultural adaption, it will let a provider know when, how, and to what extent does treatment need to be adapted (Chu & Sue, 2011). According to Chu & Sue (2011) several models have been offered for the cultural adaption process. Great quantities of those models that have been offered recommend four basic adaption phases: information gathering, developmental of initial adaption design, pilot testing and additional refinement (Barrera & Castro, 2006). According to Chu & Sue (2011), although there is a lot that is known about the mental health of Asian Americans and it’s subgroups, more research should be completed in order to gain more insight on the differences within the Asian American subgroups and cultural treatments.

Reference

Barrera, M., & Castro, F. G. (2006). A heuristic framework for the cultural adaption of interventions. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice , 13, 311-316.
CDC. (2013, July 2). Asian American populations. Retrieved November 18, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/minorityhealth/populations/REMP/asian.html
Chu, J. P., & Sue, S. (2011). Asian American Mental Health: What We Know and What We Don't Know. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture , 3 (1).
Meyers, L. (2006, February). Asian-American mental health. Retrieved November 18, 2015, from American Psychological Association: www.apa.org/monitor/feb06/health.aspx
Spencer, M., Chen, J., Gee, G., Fabian, C., & Takeuchi, D. (2010). Discrimination and Mental Health-Related Service Use in a National Study of Asian Americans. American Journal of Public Health , 100 (12), 2410-2417.
Sue, S. Mental Health. In N. Zane, D. T. Takeuchi, & K. Youngs, Confronting critical health issues of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. Newbury Park, CA.
Wang, P. S., Lane, M., Olfson, M., Pincus, H. A., Wells, K. B., & Kessler, R. C. (2005). Twelve-Month use of mental health services in the United States: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry , 62, 629-64-.
World Health Orgnaization. (2014, August 15). Mental health: A state of well-being. Retrieved Novmeber 20, 2015, from http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/en/…...

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