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Asian Americans Shun Mental Health Care

womanCompared with the overall population, few Asian-Americans seek treatment for mental health illnesses, according to a preliminary study.

The study was conducted by the University of California-Davis’ Asian American Center on Disparities Research, which was established in 2007 with a $3.9 million NIH grant.

The study found that 28 percent of Asian-Americans diagnosed with psychological problems choose to receive Western-style mental health treatment, compared with 54 percent of the general population, and that 23 percent of Asian immigrants with mental health issues obtain help from a professional.

Of those who do seek mental health help, many do not receive the appropriate treatment or do not complete the therapy, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Researchers said the reasons for the findings are complex. Nolan Zane, director of the center and professor of psychology, noted that in many Asian cultures, “suffering is accepted,” adding, “You persevere despite your pain so you can again become a part of the social fabric.”

He continued, “In Eastern cultures, the goal is not about the individual person. It’s to get the person back into the collective culture. The individual is less emphasized.” In Western cultures, however, the “goal is to reduce a person’s distress. The focus is on self-esteem, self-efficacy,” he said.

Zane said, “We’re trying to find out what it is about a person’s culture — about being Asian-American and being an ethnic minority — that often leads to dropping out at a high rate from therapy compared to whites.”

Judy Heary, executive director of the Asian Pacific Community Counseling, said that before the agency was established, “There was no real program set up for people to serve them in their own language and have a sense of understanding and sensitivity culturally.”

The 30-year-old counseling agency provides services in 13 different languages.

Source: Kaiser Network

Asian Americans Shun Mental Health Care

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Asian Americans Shun Mental Health Care. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 19, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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