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immigrant community

对精神疾病的偏见阻止了亚洲移民寻求帮助 – 怎样才能克服障碍并寻求他们所需要的帮助呢?

对精神疾病的偏见阻止了亚洲移民寻求帮助 – 怎样才能克服障碍并寻求他们所需要的帮助呢?

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试想一下,要是我们生活在那样一个世界,每个人都可以公开而无顾虑地谈论他们的心理治疗过程,就像他们谈论看牙医或理疗一样(那该多好啊!)。虽然心理治疗在某些文化中非常常见,但这些在亚洲移民社区是闻所未闻的,对他们来说,讨论心理健康是很忌讳的,他们回避治聊,寻求帮助那是需要巨大的勇气的!严重的障碍不仅与精神疾病有关,而且因为精神疾病使人感到羞愧和负罪感,使得亚洲移民不愿意寻求帮助。此外,文化方面的挑战,例如“家丑不外扬”或“丑事不出门”的观念(以防止外人发现自己的心理健康问题),害怕受到社区的排斥,寻求帮助被视为一个人的“弱点”,对隐私的担忧,以及失去“面子”或给家人带来耻辱的可能性,可以进一步阻止他们承认/认可他们正在经历心理健康问题 (Chen, Kazanjian, & Wong, 2009; Thomson et al., 2018; CBC/Radio Canada; 2018)。

说起他们的原籍国,他们的主要支持网络由亲密的家庭成员,朋友和同事构成。移民到新的国度,原籍国的支持网络可望而不可及,这可能大大增加他们出现精神健康问题的可能性。本来在新的国度寻找新的支持来源就很困难,更何况许多人却不愿意获取帮助。已经有科研证据表明,亚洲种族的加拿大人最不愿意在他们的社区中使用心理健康服务 (Durbin et al., 2015; Li & Browne, 2009; Tiwani & Wang, 2008)。

由于可能存在语言障碍,强烈的羞耻感,内疚感和他们文化价值观中根深蒂固的抵触感,寻诊心理医生通常对亚洲移民族群来说,实在是不得已而为之。在他们看来,接受专业帮助通常被视为禁忌,经历心理健康问题的人,害怕被贴上“疯狂”或“不正常”的标签,因而常常有人讳疾忌医,或者擅停前期的心理治疗。那些亚裔移民,一旦寻诊心理医生,病情症状就要比其它族裔的加拿大人要严重的多, 因而治疗起来更加困难 (Fang, 2010)。此外,亚洲移民可能会把心理疾病病症误认为是身体疾病,那是他们更为重视、关注身体疾病,而忽视心理健康(或可能是因为羞耻而回避)。更为糟糕的是,由于媒体或文化观念的原因,亚洲族群可能存在许多误区,他们不知道临床心理学家所做的治疗,以及他/她可以提供的心理治疗服务。对于许多亚洲移民来说,心理学是西方人崇尚的东西,治疗的价值和效用是源自西方个人主义文化,都是以改善个人生活为重点的。这可能与集体主义文化价值形成鲜明对比,后者是更典型的亚洲文化,其中关注自我改善可能被视为自私,甚至使人感觉内疚。

最后,与加拿大相比,他们原籍国心理医生所起的作用可能大相径庭。在有些国家,心理学专业年轻, 且行业规范化管理也不是太好。来自这些国家的移民可能经历过不同的,也许是不怎么有效的心理治疗,这些会误导他们,使他们不理解接受心理服务的益处。其实,在加拿大,临床心理学家必须获得其省级监管委员会的许可(例如,魁北克的Order  of Psychologists),并且必须具备严格的学术资质和临床资质才有资格获得。如果您正在寻找符合您需求的心理治疗师,请访问魁北克 Order of Psychologists of Quebec / Ordre des Psychologues du Québec (O.P.Q.)的官方网站寻找你中意的临床心理治疗师: http://www.ordrepsy.qc.ca/.

那么,作为健康职业从业者,为了帮助移民们克服障碍,帮其所需,我们应该做些什么呢?

1)规范如何从加拿大心理服务寻求帮助,并鼓励他们在省级监管委员会内寻找心理治疗师(例如,魁北克Order of Psychologists)

2)鼓励他们克服障碍,看待心理问题就像心理得了“感冒”一样。鼓励他们寻求帮助,而不是让症状拖延,直到问题变成心理“发烧”(更严重的症状)

3)鼓励移民人群寻求社区支持 – 例如,在当地社区和文化中心,用他们的语言提供支持服务

4)协助他们利用社区和在线资源来教育他们,如何处置那些与移民和心理健康有关的问题。

5)解决人们避而不谈的,移民经常面临的种族歧视,种族隔离的问题

6)遇到不同文化背景的患者时,要有文化敏感性。 好奇并愿意了解患者的问题,并尝试了解他们的文化背景

7)提供有关身、心健康之间密切关联的心理教育

8)利用文化咨询服务,例如:https://www.mcgill.ca/tcpsych/clinical/ccs


Zhen Xu is a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at McGill University and a therapist at Connecte Montreal Psychology Group. The team at Connecte loves writing about ways to boost our mental health and bring psychology into our everyday lives. For more helpful tips, check out Connecte’s blogspodcast, follow @connectepsychology on Instagram, or like us on Facebook.


参考资料

CBC/Radio Canada. (2018, March 1). 'The unspoken ones': How race and culture complicate Asian-Canadians' access to mental health care [News Release]. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/facing-race-the-current-s-town-hall-event-in-vancouver-1.4558134/the-unspoken-ones-how-race-and-culture-complicate-asian-canadians-access-to-mental-health-care-1.4558354.

Chen, A. W., Kazanjian, A., & Wong, H. (2009). Why do Chinese Canadians not consult mental health services: health status, language or culture?. Transcultural psychiatry, 46(4), 623-641.

Durbin, A., Moineddin, R., Lin, E., Steele, L. S., & Glazier, R. H. (2015). Mental health service use by recent immigrants from different world regions and by non-immigrants in Ontario, Canada: a cross-sectional study. BMC health services research, 15(1), 336.

Fang, L. (2010). Mental health service utilization by Chinese immigrants: Barriers and opportunities. Canadian Issues, 70.

Li, H. Z., & Browne, A. J. (2009). Defining mental illness and accessing mental health services: Perspectives of Asian Canadians. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 19(1), 143-159.

Thomson, M. S., Chaze, F., George, U., & Guruge, S. (2015). Improving immigrant populations’ access to mental health services in Canada: a review of barriers and recommendations. Journal of immigrant and minority health, 17(6), 1895-1905.

Tiwari, S. K., & Wang, J. (2008). Ethnic differences in mental health service use among White, Chinese, South Asian and South East Asian populations living in Canada. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 43(11), 866.

Stigma of mental illness preventing Asian immigrants in seeking help – what it takes to overcome the stigma and find the help they need

Stigma of mental illness preventing Asian immigrants in seeking help – what it takes to overcome the stigma and find the help they need

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Imagine living in a world in which everyone feels free to talk about their therapy sessions openly without judgement, as they do about dentist or physiotherapy appointments. Although psychotherapy is a common practice in some cultures, this scenario is unheard of in the Asian immigrant community in which discussions of mental health are hushed, therapy is shunned, and seeking help takes tremendous courage. Not only is heavy stigma associated with mental illnesses, feeling shame and guilt for having a mental health issue also makes Asian immigrants reluctant to get help. Additional cultural challenges, such as the desire to “keep it in the family” or “not washing dirty linens in public” (to prevent outsiders from discovering one’s mental health issues), fear of being ostracized by their communities, seeking help as being seen as a “weakness”, concerns of confidentiality, and the possibility of losing “face” or bringing shame to their families can further prevent them from even acknowledging/admitting that they are experiencing mental health problems (Chen, Kazanjian, & Wong, 2009; Thomson et al., 2018; CBC/Radio Canada; 2018).

Back in their countries of origin, their main supportive networks may consist of close family members, friends, and co-workers. Immigration to a new country can significantly reduce the accessibility of social support networks in their home countries, which can greatly increase their vulnerability to mental health problems. It can be difficult to find new sources of support in a foreign country, yet many are still resistant to getting help. It has been shown that Canadians of Asian ethnicities are the least likely to utilize mental health services in their communities (Durbin et al., 2015; Li & Browne, 2009; Tiwani & Wang, 2008).

Due to possible linguistic barriers, strong feelings of shame, guilt and denial deeply rooted in cultural values, visiting a psychologist is usually seen as a last resort in Asian immigrant communities. Receiving professional help is often seen as taboo and people who experience mental health problems live in fear of being labeled as “crazy” or “insane”. Refusing to seek help or dropping out prematurely during psychological treatment is common. Symptoms of those who make it to the psychologist’s office are often more severe and more difficult to treat than Canadians of other origins (Fang, 2010). In addition, Asian immigrants may mistake psychosomatic symptoms for physical illness due to the importance and attention they give to physical health, yet they lack awareness of, or perhaps avoid, issues related to mental health.

Furthermore, there may be numerous misconceptions in the Asian community of what a clinical psychologist does and the services that he/she can offer, possibly due to media and/or cultural beliefs. For many Asian immigrants, psychology comes across as a western subject matter, with treatment values and perspectives developed in western individualistic cultures that focus on improving the life of the individual. This may be in direct contrast to collectivistic cultural values, which are more typical of Asian cultures, in which focusing on self-improvement may be viewed as selfish and even induce guilt.

Finally, the role of psychologists can be drastically different in their home countries compared to that in Canada. In some countries where the profession of psychology is young and not as well regulated, immigrants may have experienced different and perhaps ineffective psychological treatment, which misconstrues the potential benefits of psychological services. In Canada, psychologists must be licensed with their provincial regulation boards (e.g., Order of Psychologists in Quebec) and must have strict academic and clinical credentials to be eligible to do so. If you are looking for a psychologist who fits your patient’s needs, visit the official website of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec to find a suitable match: http://www.ordrepsy.qc.ca/.

So what can we do as health practitioners to help immigrants overcome stigma and find the help that they need?

1) Normalize seeking help from psychological services in Canada and encourage them to look for a psychologist within their provincial regulation board (e.g., the Order of Psychologists of Quebec)

2) Reduce the stigma by encouraging them to think of psychological problems as getting a “cold” psychologically. Encourage them to seek help instead of letting symptoms drag on until the issue becomes a psychological “fever” (more severe)

3) Encourage immigrant populations to seek out community support – e.g., at their local community and cultural centres that offer support services in their language of preference

4) Assist them in utilizing community and online resources to educate themselves about issues related to immigration and mental health.

5) Address “the elephant in the room” – racism and discrimination issues that immigrants often face

6) Practice cultural sensitivity when seeing clients of a different cultural background. Be curious and willing to learn about your clients’ issues and try to understand their cultural context

7) Provide psychoeducation regarding the close association between one’s physical and mental health

8) Utilize cultural consultation services such as: https://www.mcgill.ca/tcpsych/clinical/ccs


Zhen Xu is a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at McGill University and a therapist at Connecte Montreal Psychology Group. The team at Connecte loves writing about ways to boost our mental health and bring psychology into our everyday lives. For more helpful tips, check out Connecte’s blogspodcast, follow @connectepsychology on Instagram, or like us on Facebook.


References

CBC/Radio Canada. (2018, March 1). 'The unspoken ones': How race and culture complicate Asian-Canadians' access to mental health care [News Release]. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/facing-race-the-current-s-town-hall-event-in-vancouver-1.4558134/the-unspoken-ones-how-race-and-culture-complicate-asian-canadians-access-to-mental-health-care-1.4558354.

Chen, A. W., Kazanjian, A., & Wong, H. (2009). Why do Chinese Canadians not consult mental health services: health status, language or culture?. Transcultural psychiatry, 46(4), 623-641.

Durbin, A., Moineddin, R., Lin, E., Steele, L. S., & Glazier, R. H. (2015). Mental health service use by recent immigrants from different world regions and by non-immigrants in Ontario, Canada: a cross-sectional study. BMC health services research, 15(1), 336.

Fang, L. (2010). Mental health service utilization by Chinese immigrants: Barriers and opportunities. Canadian Issues, 70.

Li, H. Z., & Browne, A. J. (2009). Defining mental illness and accessing mental health services: Perspectives of Asian Canadians. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 19(1), 143-159.

Thomson, M. S., Chaze, F., George, U., & Guruge, S. (2015). Improving immigrant populations’ access to mental health services in Canada: a review of barriers and recommendations. Journal of immigrant and minority health, 17(6), 1895-1905.

Tiwari, S. K., & Wang, J. (2008). Ethnic differences in mental health service use among White, Chinese, South Asian and South East Asian populations living in Canada. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 43(11), 866.