Meet Hannah Tran, a beautiful and gracious young woman who volunteered to share the unique challenges she faces as a Vietnamese-American supporting her teenage sister who is struggling with mental illness. Although rooted in a culture that views mental disorders as weaknesses to be swept under the rug, Hannah sees them as obstacles to be overcome. Listen to Hannah’s story and how she believes the struggle with mental illness can make her sister stronger.
There are 600 outpatient mental health facilities available in the country. However, there are no facilities exclusively for children and adolescents.
WHO, Viet Nam Office, Report
Feelings of guilt, shame, and weakness inhibit the Vietnamese from admitting mental health problems and delay treatment. Individuals, for their part, avoid openness with personal difficulties, and will forgo the cost of personal mental health in their desire to preserve peace and harmony within their relationships.
Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services,
“Cultural and Social Attitudes Towards Mental Illness
in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam”
Anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation are common among Vietnamese secondary school students. There are strong associations with physical and emotional abuse in the family and high educational stress. Academic curricula and attitudes of parents and teachers need to be changed from a punitive to a more supportive approach to reduce the risk of poor mental health.