Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Asian Americans' mental health

There are known to be large differences in the way in which ethnic minorities access, and are treated by, mental-health services. This is just as true of the U.S. as of the U.K. and Asian Americans - a group that includes Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Filipino and Micronesian people - are no exception. Only 17% of Asian Americans with a mental illness seek some form of care and less than 6% of these people seek out a mental-health service. This could be for a number of different reasons:

  • They have different views about mental illness
  • They feel a stigma about using mental-health services
  • They have little faith in psychotherapy
  • They fear being institutionalized
  • They have a limited awareness of services
  • Services are culturally insensitive

A survey of data from New York City (where Asians make up 10% of the population) found that Asian Americans were more likely to be admitted as emergencies and to be diagnosed with schizophrenia or affective psychoses. Asians were 70% less likely to use inpatient services but stayed longer than non-Asian people when they did.

Shin, Jinah K. - Inpatient stays of Asian patients with psychiatric diagnoses in New York City Issues in Mental Health Nursing 30(2), 112-121

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