Mental health literacy in Hmong and Cambodian elderly refugees: A barrier to understanding, recognizing, and responding to depression

Hee Yun Lee, Kathy Lytle, Pa Yang, Terry Lum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study aims to explore mental health literacy, specifically focusing on depression, among Southeast Asian (SEA) elderly refugees residing in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Three focus groups were held with nine mental health professionals who work with SEA elders. Jorm's mental health literacy framework guided the study theoretically. For data analysis, grounded theory was employed by utilizing MAX QDA2. Four themes emerged from the analysis: 1) lack of knowledge about specific mental disorders, 2) culture-specific knowledge and beliefs on the causes of depression, 3) lack of awareness about professional help, and 4) cultural attitudes toward seeking mental health services. The findings indicated that cultural beliefs of SEA elders impact their ability to understand, recognize, and respond to depression. Barriers to treatment were identified and recommendations were made to reduce mental health disparity in this elderly population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-344
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Volume71
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

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