A New Generation Of Therapists Is Fighting Asian-American Mental Health Stigma

A New Generation Of Therapists Is Fighting Asian-American Mental Health Stigma:

An excerpt:

People
with mental health issues often resist their family members’
suggestions that they seek help, she said, but it’s the patient who must
give consent for treatment.

“There
is a fear among the community that if anyone finds out, they will be
ostracized,” said Dr. Vasudev N. Makhija, founder and president of the South Asian Mental Health Initiative and Network.
“They will be worried about what others think and might say. Even for
seeking emotional support, they just keep quiet and just suffer in
silence instead.”

Many
psychiatrists who focus on Asian-American communities believe it’s most
effective to educate the entire family while treating the patient.

One
approach that works is informing the immediate family, said Dr. Albert
Gaw of Asian Community Mental Health Services, who has written about best practices
for working with Asian-American patients. Makhija agrees, saying that
when he sees Asian-American patients, the family often accompanies the
patient to the interview room ― with the patient’s consent.

Using
this strategy, doctors will fully inform the family about the
medications and treatment, as well as what symptoms to watch out for.

“You
cannot divorce the family from individual care,” Gaw said, “but in the
American culture, usually patients are being treated as an individual.”

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