Mental Health

Depression

Stressors of being an immigrant may contribute to the mental health of a population. Adjustment to a new country, communication and language difficulties, problems of identity all heighten stressors that the immigrant population deal with. In addition, the portrayal of Asians as a ‘model minority’ may result in underestimation of the problems.

Recent events covered in the media including the Virginia Tech massacre by a troubled Korean American and dual suicide/homicide by a Korean father in Los Angeles further emphasizes that Asian groups may not be the ‘model minority’ once envisioned.

Korean youths deal with the pressure of the emphasis that their parent’s place on education. Older Koreans immigrants who don’t speak the language and lack social outlets deal with social isolation and depression. In addition depression may be felt to be a sign of personal weakness. One study looking at attitudes of older Korean Americans toward mental health services found that length of time having lived in the US were more likely to have favorable perception of mental health services. (Jang, 2007)