Mental Illnesses and Barriers to Seeking Mental Health Care in the Vietnamese Community in Austin, Texas from The Perspectives of Community Leaders and Providers




Ly, Anh

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Vietnamese Americans are often grouped into the model minority category; however, national demographics show that Vietnamese Americans may experience greater disadvantages compared to other Asian-American groups. Furthermore, Vietnamese Americans have a unique immigration history due to many seeking refuge from the Vietnam War. A history of fleeing war and attempting to adapt to a new culture in the United States have greatly influenced Vietnamese Americans’ way of life and mental health. Despite the rapid growth of the Vietnamese population in Austin, Texas, few studies have focused on this group in the city, especially in the context of mental health. In this study, I explored factors influencing Vietnamese Americans’ mental illnesses and barriers to seeking mental health assistance in Austin, Texas. A total of 12 community leaders and providers who are familiar with the Vietnamese population in Austin were interviewed to gather diverse narratives of experiences within the community. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, then qualitatively analyzed for common themes. The findings from the study provide a summary of mental illnesses and mental health access in the Vietnamese community. More importantly, the findings bring attention to the critical need of culturally specific mental health resources that take into account factors discussed by the participants, such as Asian family dynamics and differences between western and eastern mental health ideologies. This study will help agencies and non-profit organizations establish appropriate mental health initiatives for the Vietnamese community in Austin, Texas.


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