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Workshop To Discuss Ethnic Stigmas As Barriers To Mental Health Care

Workshop To Discuss Ethnic Stigmas As Barriers To Mental Health Care
Workshop To Discuss Ethnic Stigmas As Barriers To Mental Health Care GUEST: Jan Estrellado, Ph.D., associate director of clinical training for the psychology department, Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital

In any given year one in five adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness. But statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health doesn't tell the whole story seeking treatment for mental health issues can depend on many things including ethnic background and culture and many factors including income can also affect what type of treatment is available. A workshop tonight presented through a partnership between the city of San Diego and Sharpe healthcare will offer strategies to overcome some of these challenges. Dr. Jan Estra Yaddo associate director of clinical training for the psychology department on sharp Mesa Vista hospital spoke to a PBS reporter Alison St. John about how cultural background can affect mental illness. Okina the National Alliance for Mental Health has collected some data that shows that those who tend to seek help with mental illness. It varies a lot by ethnicity. For example fewer Asians Hispanics and black adults use mental health services compared to those who are white. What are some of the reasons for that. Well there are a few reasons why there may be some barriers to accessing mental health services for communities of color that you mention. One of them might be logistical that it might be difficult to get time off of work or to get child care. One of them might be that there's a stigma of seeking mental health services that I quote unquote should be able to handle these problems on my own or within my family. Can you talk a little bit more about how that stigma might vary depending on your cultural background. Well I think different communities are going to have different beliefs about mental health services. So for instance some communities might think if I have a problem that I can't handle on my own or in my family perhaps I seek care from my faith leader or someone in my church. Some communities might believe that you go to a different kind of healer perhaps an indigenous healer or perhaps from your primary care doctor. So mental health practitioners might not be the first people that one thinks of when they have problems that they aren't able to handle themselves. And I mean those strategies might be quite effective right. Is there anything wrong with going to your faith your church for example first. Absolutely not. I think people find what works for them. I think what I would say is if you find that you still need support beyond those services beyond those people that mental health services are available to you. Let's talk a little bit about what might be behind the need to seek help. You know would you say that there are different levels of stress depending on your cultural background that could contribute to the differences between different ethnic backgrounds and how they experience mental health issues. I think there is a difference. I do want to say first all that as a baseline Americans experience a great deal of stress already. So you know the American Psychological Association tells us three out of four Americans have experienced at least one stress symptom in the last month alone. I think most of us can relate to that. Yes. Yes. So when when you look at some of the data that are experiences from communities of color on top of those stressors that we all experience we know that discrimination does play a role in that. It's almost seven in 10 people for communities of color are saying I experienced discrimination on a daily basis and that adds to the stress of just being who you are. Absolutely. Absolutely. I know I spoke to somebody who is working with the homeless and of course mental illness is cited as one of the reasons for homelessness but he says well perhaps being homeless is the cause for experiencing mental illness because of the stress of being homeless. There are many intersections that this can play out. So it could be related to whether or not someone how secure housing but it could also be related to age gender identity and sexual orientation race ethnicity disability. There are many ways that this could that can play out. Can you give us some strategies for dealing with stress more effectively perhaps even helping someone not have to go to seek help. Well I think as you mentioned even before coming to seek mental health support the most important way that I can advise people to manage stress is actually emotional support from their family friends and community. And so if you find yourself withdrawing from your partner or from your kids or from your parents that reaching out to people is one of the best ways that we know how to manage stress and of course on the other side if you've got somebody who's reaching out to you there's a there's a responsibility to respond. Absolutely. If we if we are able to do that lending a listening ear to someone can help. So no apparently ethnicity can also play a role in the kind of treatment that somebody gets when they seek it. How does that play out. Can you give me a little bit more information about what you mean there. OK so apparently some health care providers have a lack of cultural understanding and they may not really relate to the kind of stress that somebody is presenting with and why it might be caused. Yes I think as a as a mental health field we have an opportunity to do more work to be able to really be in touch with what our clients patients consumers are experiencing when they come to our office. It's also important for us to make sure that we are actively recruiting and training people from underserved communities to become providers themselves. I guess language could be a big barrier. Absolutely soling linguistic issues are a huge barrier for many people for whom English is not their first language. And so one thing that's important for consumers of services to know is you have a right to ask for an interpreter. When you receive services. So there's a workshop tonight which is going to be at 6pm p.m. at the Valencia Park Malcolm X library. And Jan is speaking there. So Jen thanks so much for joining us. It's been a pleasure. Thank you. Jen Estra Yaddo is associate director of clinical training for the psychology department to chart civis to hospital.

One in 5 adults in the U.S. has a mental illness.

Whether or not someone seeks treatment can be impacted by many things, including the person’s ethnic background and culture. It can also impact the treatment they do get once they seek it.

A workshop Wednesday will offer strategies to overcome some of these challenges. The workshop is at 6 p.m. at the Valencia Park/Malcolm X Library. People who plan to attend can register at The workshop is presented through a partnership between the city and Sharp Healthcare.


Jan Estrellado, Ph.D., is the director of clinical training for the psychology department at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. She joins Midday Edition Wednesday to discuss some of the issues she will cover in the workshop.