Online Program

Capturing community wellness through the lens of Asian youth: A photovoice project

Monday, November 4, 2013

Shalini Tendulkar, ScD, ScM, Institute for Community Health, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
Alice Chan, BS Candidate, Community Health Program, Tufts University, Medford, MA
Mei Hung, MA, Chinese Culture Connection, Malden, MA
Devin Young, BA, Asian American Civic Association, Boston, MA
QI Jing Zhang, BA, Chinese Culture Connection, Inc., Malden, MA
Kim Nghiem, Psy.D., Cambridge Health Alliance, 26 Central Street, 3rd Floor, MA
Renee Cammarata Hamilton, MSW, MPA, Department of Community Affairs, Cambridge Health Alliance, Malden, MA
Jocelyn Chu, ScD, MPH, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc, Boston, MA
Background: Asians represent one of the fastest growing populations in the United States. Despite the persistent “model minority” myth, mental health issues are of concern in this population. In 2008, academic and community partners discussed findings of a needs assessment of Asian adults conducted in an urban city in Massachusetts. At this forum, mental health issues were voiced as a priority for this Asian community, particularly by youth who attended this public meeting.

Purpose: In response, the partners undertook a year long project to train youth to implement a community-based photovoice project to explore mental health and wellness.

Methods: Ten youth, between the ages of 14 and 18, from the greater Boston area participated in this project. Project staff implemented capacity building sessions with youth to explore the concepts of mental health and wellness and provided training in research ethics, photography and data analysis. Youth were then asked to take photographs of objects and scenes representing Asian community mental health and community wellness and analyze these photographs.

Results: Preliminary findings reveal that youth identify mental health determinants as falling into three broad domains—family (parental pressures or conversely supports), self (e.g. self care practices, time management) and the broader social environment (e.g. group activities, friends). Additional results will be shared in this presentation, including youth photographs and their interpretations. Furthermore, we will also share lessons learned from implementing a community-based research project with youth.

Discussion: This youth led project successfully engaged with and trained 10 youth to conduct a photovoice project to understand mental health and wellness in the Asian community, from their perspective. The photovoice technique is a useful way in which to encourage youth to explore challenging concepts such as mental health and provide them with opportunities to contribute to dialogue related to these concepts.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the barriers and facilitators to implementing a community-based youth driven photovoice project with Asian youth. Describe how Asian youth perceive mental health and wellness and discuss the implications for community based programs and services.

Keyword(s): Asian Americans, Community Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have led this research project and have expertise in AAPI health and mental health issues.
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.