Adjusting to a new culture is a process and has its positive and negative effects on a person’s mental health. The National Latino and Asian American Study showed profound results. There were a few main groups that were studied and they included Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Asian Americans which included Japanese, Korean, and Asian Indians. The core of this study was to examine how many people were suffering from mental illness and how many actually sought out treatment for their illness. The results show that Asian Americans have significantly less mental illness compared to White Americans and they also are hesitant to seek treatment. There are many factors as to why they do not seek treatment and those include immigration status, birthplace and age. Even though Asian American immigrants are less likely to seek treatment, some of the groups are susceptible to get treatment due to their past. For example, the Vietnamese immigrants who were held in refugee camps before coming to America have more experiences under their belt and feel the urge to get treatment. Compared to the other groups, those who had more traumatic experiences took advantage of treatment options. Being born in America or even coming at an early age also affected the mental health of some immigrants. The ones who were born here or came early have a higher likelihood to try and fit in more with American culture compared to their parents who do not face the same extent of peer pressure. Coming to the United States or being born into an immigrant family the level of prejudice is higher. Social status is a major issue that immigrants face. Since they are new to the country or deal with prejudice at the workplace they have trouble becoming successful in some cases. Their goals include a good income level, a successful profession, and familial respect. David Takeuchi, PhD, states, “For Asian Americans, it isn’t the objective social status, but their perception of their social status in society-those who see it as low have higher rates of disorders”, (Meyers, 2006, 45). Assimilating with the culture they are in and the high status of people around them is more important to their mental health. Depression is a disorder that is linked to the negative effects of low social status. Being treated unfairly and racism are the two possible causes for depression amongst immigrants. According to the study done by Soo Yun Uhm and Takeuchi 74% of Asian Americans in the NLAAS study experienced a form of unfair treatment and of those 63% said it was related to racism, (Meyers, 2006, 45). Family life back in the immigrant’s homeland is much different than that in mainstream America. The second generation immigrants are more likely to identify with American culture than of their family’s culture. This causes stress and confusion among the immigrant’s family life. One common example is educational sacrifices. The immigrant parents feel that they have sacrificed much of their health and wealth getting their children to America so they can reap the benefits of American education; however children are not as obedient or appreciative as their parents want them to be.
Children, instead, seek out their independence in this new country and want to establish their identity other than an obedient student and son or daughter. The study found that over 30% of Asian American parents reported minor parent-to-child assault and 2% reported major assault, (Meyers, 2006, 46).These parent-child conflicts lead to mental health issues especially for the child. In Asian cultures abuse is not regarded as a high offense, however in American it is a high offense. There are many Asian American homes where the abuse is gone unseen and unreported and that is due to their ethnic background. Asian Americans are less likely to talk about their problems and want to act as though they are normal and no problems exist at home. Seeking help is the main issue. Language, culture, and little or no access to helpare the main reasons why they are not seeking treatment. The study shows that those Asian Americans who try and seek help go to any source they can get a hold of and in return they feel as though they are not satisfied with the help they got. On the other hand, those who went to a mental health professional for treatment were highly satisfied. The source of treatment is the key to success. After this study was conducted, psychologists wanted to make a difference by reaching out by providing education. Many immigrants are unaware of the resources out there and Abe-Kim a psychology professor at Loyola Marymount University suggested that the education should be delivered to them instead of them coming to the source. With that in mind psychologists and other health professionals went to areas where they knew many immigrants resided such as nail salons, churches, schools, and neighborhood events when they may be in attendance. In Alabama, many psychologists focused on educating women in nail salons about domestic violence prevention. This national program is called, Cut It Out, and they go to the above listed areas where immigrants gather and educate them. By educating them with knowledge of who a psychologist is and where they can come to get help for any problem is liberating for immigrants. It helps them in their quest to adjust to American culture without the stress and tension.