Increasing mental health awareness and appropriate service use in older Chinese Americans: a pilot intervention

Patient Educ Couns. 2009 Jul;76(1):143-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2008.11.008. Epub 2009 Jan 4.


Objective: This study evaluated the effectiveness of a community intervention in increasing awareness of mental health issues and available resources among elderly Chinese Americans.

Methods: Twenty-seven members of a community church received a 1-h didactic presentation, in English and Mandarin, and completed surveys regarding their help-seeking preferences before and after the intervention. Results were analyzed using a series of Wilcoxon matched-pair signed rank tests and comparing pre- and post-test scores.

Results: Findings indicated an increase (p<.05) in intention to consult a mental health professional for psychiatric symptoms at post-test. A significant increase also was found in preference for consulting a physician for physical symptoms.

Conclusion: The pilot educational intervention increased awareness of mental health and treatment issues and the role of mental health professionals, lending support to evaluate the intervention on a larger scale.

Practice implications: Greater awareness of mental health among Chinese Americans can be promoted via education forums provided through faith-based organizations. Stigma of mental illness leads many Chinese individuals to seek help for psychiatric problems from primary care physicians. Integrating mental health practitioners in primary care settings may help decrease stigma and encourage appropriate help-seeking behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian Americans
  • Awareness*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Mental Health*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Pilot Projects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology