202151 Mental health service needs, access, and utilization among South Asians: An exploratory study

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:30 AM

Maham M. Chaudhry, MPH , United American Indian Involvement, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Mental health issues are a serous concern among South Asians. California is home to one of the largest South Asian population in the nation. Limited literature is available on the mental health status and service needs of South Asians in California and specifically in Los Angeles County. Purpose: This study investigates the mental health service needs, access, and utilization among South Asians residing in East Los Angeles County. Methods: Data was collected through community health surveys with South Asian community members (n=111), and provider surveys with mental health service providers (n=9) serving South Asians. Results: Survey respondents agreed that mental health is a serious concern among South Asians. It was noted that despite the availability of mental health services, South Asians more often seek help for their mental health issues from their family or friends. Service providers found mental health issues to be less accepted by the South Asian community and mental health stigma a serious concern. Community members however found mental health stigma as not a serious concern. Also, mental health stigma, service provider's lack of sensitivity towards South Asian culture and religion, language barriers, and community's limited knowledge of available resources were determined as major barriers to access or utilization of metal health services among South Asians. Conclusions: Based on the results, recommendations were made to mental health service providers for improving outreach and treatment services for South Asian community. It was suggested that cultural competence be promoted among service providers serving South Asian community.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this session participants will be able to Identify three risk factors associated with mental health issues among the South Asian community of Los Angeles County. List three barriers to mental health service access and utilization among the South Asian community of Los Angeles County. Identify the need of culturally appropriate mental health services desired by the South Asian community of East Los Angeles County.

Keywords: Mental Health Services, Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the researcher and author of this study. This is my MPH thesis study.
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.