187076 Outreach strategies for mental health promotion: The role of ethnic media among Vietnamese communities in the U.S

Monday, October 27, 2008: 11:15 AM

Lien H. Cao, MS, MFT , Santa Clara County Mental Health Department, San Jose, CA
Meekyung Han, PhD, MSW , School of Social Work, College of Applied Sciences and Arts, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
Mary S. Lee, MPH , School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Tram Nguyen, MA , Asian American Recovery Services, Inc., San Jose, CA
Studies show that Vietnamese families are at high risk for developing mental health disorders due to multiple risk factors such as trauma, acculturative stress, and intergenerational conflict. However, as a culturally taboo subject, the extent and severity of mental health has not yet been fully understood, resulting in a significant discrepancy between the prevalence of mental illness and the utilization of mental health services in the Vietnamese population.

To fill this gap, Project Tam An (Inner Peace in Vietnamese) was implemented to raise mental health awareness by engaging community resources in the Vietnamese population of northern California. Through local ethnic media sources, messages to destigmatize mental health and promote the interest, ability, and willingness to initiate mental health treatment were aired in weekly radio broadcasts and regularly published in newspaper columns.

Informed by the nine stages of the Community Readiness Model, this pilot study was conducted to assess the initial effectiveness of Tam An. The preliminary finding suggests that Tam An significantly improved the stage of readiness in the Vietnamese community to support mental health promotion from level 3 (vague awareness) to level 6 (initiation), indicating an increased interest and willingness to seek mental health services. This confirms the program's desired outcome and acknowledges that outreach efforts must be conceived from models that are community specific and culturally relevant. The study provides implications for understanding effective ways to engage communities and continue mobilizing and sustaining community support for mental health promotion.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate mental health needs among the Vietnamese refugee/immigrant population in the U.S. 2. Discuss the proximal outcomes and lessons learned in using media as part of a community outreach program for mental health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Lien Cao, MS, MFT, is an Associate Director at Asian American Recovery Services (AARS), Inc., one of the nationís largest behavioral health organizations specifically targeting the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. AARS has provided mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services to thousands of residents across Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco Counties. The agency has been funded by SAMHSA, NIAAA, the Department of Education, NIDA, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Ms. Cao currently oversees outreach, intervention and treatment programs for youth and adults in Santa Clara County, California. She is the Project Director for Tam-An.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.