I would like to express my deep concern inregards to the article: A New Generation of Therapists Is FightingAsian-American Mental Health Stigma published on 11th October 2017 by Ms.
Rosalie Chan. After reading Rosalie Chan’s thoughts on theAsian-Americanmental health stigma, I would like togive out some of myopinions and suggestions, thus I hope that you will be able to emphasize the rootcause of mental health stigma, the seriousness of ignoring mental health due tostigma, more ways of helping people with mental illness and will be publishingmore related articles about mental health stigma. Culture beliefs are shackles of people with mentalillness. The only way to break free from this constrains lies with patientsthemselves and their families’ supports. Chan mentioned this in her article,”Asiansare 3 times less likely than whites to ask for mental health help.” As we also see from the patients that Chaninterviewed in the article, most of them are constrained by Asiancultural perspectives and beliefs, hindering their treatment. However, in the article, Chan did not explicitlytell what the cultural concepts are. As a Chinese, I would like to share to youwhat Iunderstand about howChinese culture can cause mental health stigma.
Many Asians have a deep concern onsaving face. Mostare reluctantto let others know abouttheir family scandals. They also have highexpectationsto livea flawless life and pursuea bright future.
On top of that,most of them have prejudiceagainst mental illness and view it as a humiliation that canharm the family name and personal reputation. Therefore, many may choose tohide their mental problems to maintain their own dignity, so that they will notbe labelled,isolated or discriminated against. We can see that, the long-held cultural dogma and concept are sourcesof mental health stigma and the stigma often begins from the mental illnesssufferers themselves or their families. Therefore, I suggest them to be bravein breaking down their self-stigma through trying to view and think about mentalillness in positive perspective: Without treatment, patients would sufferserious or dangerous consequence. With a poor physical and mental health, howcan they be able to achieve their flawless life and seek for their betterfuture? Family members are the closest people tous, so that relatives’ intervention is a vital element in aiding the patient’s firststep to recovery. Regrettably, in the article Sandy Tran and Hobro are bothignored by their parents, when they told their parents that they felt mentallyill. Their parents view this as a trivial issue as they do not recognise howserious the consequence will be on their children’s both physical and mentalcondition if they ignore mental illness.
Although I do respect the ideals ofthe Chinese culture, I also wish that families of the patients can jump out ofthe cultural constrain openly, initiatively and rationally, they should pay closeattention on mental health problems and encouraging the patients to open uptheir feelings. Hiding mental problem is like concealinga giant stone in heart, the patients will not only live an unhappy life, long-lastingpsychological consequences, including anxiety, depression, loneliness or panicwill also bring them an unimaginable dangerous consequences. I would also like to elaborateand further emphasize the gravity of harm that will lead by hiding one’semotion whichMs.
Chan had also mentioned briefly about. Imagineyou will live to 80 years old, meaning that you will only live about29,000 days. 29,000 days is a short time, if you refuse to seek help or receiveappropriate treatment because of the taboo of mental illness stigma and feelshamed or guilty, then you are equal to waste your precious life, you will evencarry out disruptivebehaviours,for example suicide.According to the World Health Organization, “About 800,000 peoplecommit suicide every year, and up to 90% of suicide victims suffer from amental disorder.
“The evidence shows that mental illness shouldnot be neglectedand concealed. Hence, I hope that you will be able to publish morerelated articles about the negative impacts of evading and ignoring seek fortreatment or despisingthe harmfulness of mental illness. Thereby, patients and theirfamilies will understand that if the patients did not seek for help, the familyscandals will be open to the public even though they do not want to. It is goodto hear that anew generation of therapists is fighting Asian-Americanmental health stigma which was mentioned by Chan’s article.
Theresponsibility does not only lie on the therapist, but also on the patients’family members, friends and the whole society. There are some suggestions thatI think can help decrease the severe stigma of mental illness. People havingmental illness often needs a companion in their recovering time, some of the best supportand help comesfrom others who are experiencing similar challenges from local hospitals orcommunity mental health agency. It could also be beneficial to the people havingmental illness,as listed in Chan’s article to host public workshops, health camps andcommunity outreach events that offer screenings and discussion of commonconditions like depression and substance abuse.
I wouldalso like to suggest thatpeople with mental illness accompaniedby the family to join family leading programs, led by socialworkers,can helpfamilies learn how to cope and adapt to this situation. On top ofthat, therapist should inform their patient that their health history willbe enclosed. More can also be done for example online platforms,hotlinesand advertisements.In Hong Kong,there areadvertisements about tackling discrimination which Isuggest should be widely used by governments featuring patients withsimilar illness that had recovered from mental illness to allow everyone to understand thatmental illness is only a common disease as if physical sickness which isnothing to be shameful about and at the same time let the mental illnesssufferers knowthat they are not alone to fight this illness. As citizens make the futureof a country, it is notjust the responsibility of therapist but also the government’sto support and bring the patients out of their mental illness. Also thereshould be more promotion on the Equal Opportunity Association to let thesufferers know that they are protected by laws and regulations where they canget help, Ibelieve that through propaganda and education, by correcting the understandingof mental illness can be raised, this gives the public a better understanding of how they can bettercontrol and sooth their emotions as well as understanding what they can do tohelp, support and accept people in need. As I had stated, the issue of mentalhealth is occurring globally.
It is my view that mental health problem could besoothed through acknowledging people and give them a better understanding ofmental health and at the same time eliminating the stigma that had beenintertwined in the sufferers’ mind. All of these can notonly reduce the amount of people developing mental stigma, but also aiding therecovery of patients.