Online Program

Empowering Korean- American adolescents: Mental Health Literacy and Suicide Prevention Policy Address

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Louis Seungchan Kim, Department of Health Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Background:BRFSS have shown that Korean- Americans had the highest suicide rate among all ethnicities along with high prevalence of mental disorder. Adolescents may not able to receive care due to stigmas and a lack of understanding toward community resource availability. 

Objective:To identify the prevalence of mental disorder among Korean- American adolescents; how much adolescents are aware of community resources as they cope with their mental disorders. Discuss the importance of involvement from school educators, primary care physicians, parents, and local policy makers for an early identification of mental disorders and prevention of suicide attempt. Assess the effectiveness of Korean speaking crisis workers. 

Methods: In-depth open-ended questions were asked to 50 (n=50) 1.5 and 2ndgeneration Korean- American adolescents. The participants were randomly selected from 10 different Korean churches in Los Angeles, California. 

Results:  40 participants (80%) experienced a form of mental disorders, such as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder, and among 40, 24 participants have contemplated suicide. Korean speaking crisis workers were not usually available during the time of crisis.

Conclusion: Due to stigmas attached to mental disorder, adolescents were not able to receive appropriate care, which exacerbated their overall symptoms. Social workers and professionals should promote community based programs to increase mental health literacy. Peers should learn to identify at risk behaviours and symptoms, and help those adolescents who are in trouble. Due a lack of funding and counselors for Korean speaking suicide hotline, adolescents were not able to talk to someone during the time of crisis.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Compare suicide rate between Asian- Americans (other Asian ethnicities) and Korean- American adolescents; Explain mental health literacy; Explain acculturation process and immigration; Identify cultural and language barriers that the community face; Discuss past suicide prevention policy; List the roles in which bilingual social workers play in adolescent suicide prevention; Explain the importance of parents’, primary care physicians’, and school faculty members’ involvement in detecting mental abnormalities; formulate possible ideas for policy formulation to prevent suicide among Korean- American adolescents; Discuss how increasing mental health literacy among adolescents can decrease the severity of mental disorders; Discuss the importance of early recognition of mental disorders; Assess the ways in which social stigma toward mental disorders can be decreased.

Keyword(s): Asian Americans, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: : Louis Seungchan Kim, B.S.P.H, is the principal investigator of the study. He is an undergraduate researcher at the Department of Health Science at Brigham Young University. Since 2013, he has been conducting research studies on the social determinants of health and mental health services. He has presented at American Public Health Association 2014 under the guidance of Dr. Len Novilla, M.D., MPH
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.