Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 98–106 | Cite as

Stressors and Barriers to Using Mental Health Services Among Diverse Groups of First-Generation Immigrants to the United States

  • Fay Saechao
  • Sally Sharrock
  • Daryn Reicherter
  • James D. Livingston
  • Alexandra Aylward
  • Jill Whisnant
  • Cheryl Koopman
  • Sarita Kohli
Original Paper

Abstract

This study examined stressors and barriers to using mental health services among first-generation immigrants in San Jose, California. Focus groups for 30 immigrants from Cambodia, Eastern Europe, Iran, Iraq, Africa, and Vietnam were audio-recorded, translated and transcribed. Two researchers coded the data and identified themes pertaining to mental health stressors and barriers. Six primary stressors were identified: economic, discrimination, acculturation due to language differences, enculturation, parenting differences, and finding suitable employment. Primary barriers included: stigma, lack of a perceived norm in country of origin for using mental health services, competing cultural practices, lack of information, language barriers, and cost. A conceptual model is presented that may be used to inform the design and implementation of mental health services for this population.

Keywords

Immigrant Mental health services Stress Barriers 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This project was supported by a grant from the Santa Clara County Mental Health Department in California. We also wish to express our appreciation to Ciara Mahan, Ph.D. who provided consultation to the project and to Richard Mahan, Ph.D. for his participation in the formulation of the focus group questions and for his co-facilitation of some of the groups. We also thank all of the participants who made this research possible.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fay Saechao
    • 1
  • Sally Sharrock
    • 1
  • Daryn Reicherter
    • 2
  • James D. Livingston
    • 1
  • Alexandra Aylward
    • 2
  • Jill Whisnant
    • 2
  • Cheryl Koopman
    • 2
  • Sarita Kohli
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Survivors of TortureAsian Americans for Community InvolvementSan JoseUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University, School of MedicinePalo AltoUSA

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