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Don’t Sweep Anxiety Under the Rug

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Woman talks about her fight against anxiety despite cultural barriers.

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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.  – Dat Tan Nguyen, Depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideationamong Vietnamese secondary school students and proposed solutions: a cross-sectional study