, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 109-118

Engaging Asian Americans for Mental Health Research: Challenges and Solutions

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Abstract

Asian American communities have important and unmet mental health needs, but there is comparatively little research data on process and outcomes that can guide evidence-based approaches to mental health care. This paper describes our experience of building research programs in a community-based health care facility, some of the challenges we faced, and barriers that were overcome. We have learned that a) mental health services research can be carried out in a community health center with minimal intrusion on usual patient flow; b) the effort must be shared between the health center and the community; c) barriers to participation in mental health research programs are multifactorial ranging from conceptual, cultural, and attitudinal biases to practical concerns inherent in the ethnic minority population; and d) resistance can be overcome by working with participants’ cultural and social needs and using their explanatory belief models when developing and pursuing studies.