Mental Health Awareness Activity Plan for AAPI Youths

The learning objectives are to raise mental health awareness for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth, to offer support and resources for them, and to help destigmatize the issues of mental health within the AAPI community. The objectives also include teaching them about the history of mental health in AAPI and building a community within themselves in the South Seattle neighborhoods. The primary participants are AAPI youth and their families who would like to be more aware of mental health, ACRS staff that will help run the program/activities, and people that have utilized ACRS services and are willing to share their experiences to educate the youth and their families.

These objectives matter because there are various obstacles that prevent AAPI youth and their families from accessing mental health resources and living a healthy and fulfilling life. There is a prominent stigma against mental health in the AAPI community where it isn’t talked about openly or supportively. When mental health and its impact on individuals and the community isn’t discussed, people are unaware of potential help or resources that are available to them. The access and support are important so that community members and youth can utilize these resources and not be afraid to ask for their aid. Because AAPI youth grow up with this stigma, seeing and hearing about people’s stories will hopefully start to break that barrier and allow people to learn more about mental health as a whole. Learning about the history of mental health disparities in AAPI will also be beneficial to the AAPI community since it will provide context and understanding of their experiences and why they may be experiencing certain mental health disorders. For instance, immigration and the traumas of assimilation and discrimination that come with it in south Seattle provide history and knowledge about why certain AAPI demographics are experiencing mental health disorders. By learning about the history and the CBCA proposal

The key issue that we would like to focus on is access to mental health services for Asian Americans and the resources that are provided for them in Seattle. The communities that we are interested in working with are the Asian American immigrants, refugees, American born, community members in South Seattle. We would be interested in finding out more about ACRS that is located at South Seattle area. They offer services for recovery, behavioral health and wellness, and child youth and development. They also help as a referral center, so if someone is in need of more care and/or more intensive help, they would be able to help find that help. We would be interested in engaging and learning more about the specific programs and services offered at ACRS and how effective they are. We would like to learn about the issues and the community by researching the history of South Seattle, talking to community members, and looking up more information on the internet.

Huge deterrents that affect help-seeking behavior and proper awareness of mental health issues is the highly prevalent stigma of shame, different cultural approaches to solving mental health issues, cultural competency of providers, lack of resources to seek out these services properly, and so on. ACRS was started as a grassroots effort to provide mental health services that fit the cultural needs of Asian Americans since they weren’t properly served by normal care providers. Asian Americans are also historically shown to underutilize these services while they may suffer from a host of factors such as immigration, acculturation, exposure to trauma, type of Asian identity, etc. that combine to make a spectrum of experiences with mental health that range for these communities. Americans have dominated in setting the standards of mental health, disorders, and treatment which may not align with the expressions of mental health in other cultures. There is a lack of community-based research for addressing mental illnesses for Asian Americans as well there are inconsistencies for the current research of Asian mental health coupled with a multitude of variables to account for that complicates clear results/solutions to these disparities. There is a disconnect of how to best serve Asian Americans and major service providers in order to provide accurate and holistic care for a vulnerable and historically underserved community.

ACRS was chosen as the organization we would like to further research/work with since it is located in the very community it wishes to serve. Asian Americans due to restrictive real estate covenants have historically only been able to live in south Seattle. Ethnic enclaves have formed with many generations of Asian American immigrants, refugees, and American born individuals in this area over time. Asian Americans have been vulnerable to being diagnosed inappropriately and provided inept healthcare from service providers non-familiar with Asia Americans language and culture, so ACRS works to serve and empower this community to utilize their services so they can live healthy, supportive, and fulfilling lives. This community has strength in number/generations of Asian Americans, Asian American community members working for the community, cultural competency, and so on.

Through researching about the ACRS (Asian Counseling and Referral Service) and the community that it serves, we discovered the purpose, reasoning, and background of the creation of the ACRS as well as surrounding issues of the community that the organization tries to address. The ACRS is located in South Seattle because they want to be in the communities they wish to serve, specifically due to the heavy presence of Asian American immigrants, ranging primarily from the neighborhoods Beacon Hill to Rainier Beach. The Chinese have historically been only able to reside in the Beacon Hill/ South Seattle area due to restrictive real estate covenants (Chin 55). The covenants were less restrictive in these neighborhoods due to dilapidated housing and high crime rates. Over time and after many generations, the Chinese community has grown and spread throughout these neighborhoods, holding their own roots.  ACRS was established in 1973 a time when Asian Pacific Americans were vulnerable to being misdiagnosed, while at the same time facing risk of improper healthcare from the service providers non-familiar with the Asian American culture and language.

Currently, a range of services is provided by ACRS for the disadvantage individuals such as refugees, immigrants, pacific Islanders and low income individuals (ACRS History). The ACRS was founded in light of the issue of Asian Americans in south Seattle being underserved not served with cultural competency by service providers and had to create their own mental health services (i.e. ACRS) that cater to the cultural needs specific to Asian Americans.

The specifics of the action plan include a distributed, patient-centered, cooperative approach to mental healthcare accepted locally and is evidence-based. It aims to strengthen the referral systems, encompassing community-based referral, collaboration with traditional healers (Fine, 2006). Moreover, a supportive monitoring framework and channels for referrals involving an increase in the number of mental healthcare facilitators at different training levels of diagnosis. The activity plan has centered on improving health literacy and also engaged the community with a strategy of social inclusion, self-aid (Minkler, Wallerstein, & Yamala, 2003).  Existing infrastructures such as ACRS was considered necessary to be strengthened in order to distribute essential drugs and as well strengthen and expand the present information systems.

Among the issues raised in community-based practice and learning was that it was learned that the youths are the most vulnerable to mental disorders which is very prevalent and is an epidemic disease in AAPI (Evans, Hole, Berg, Hutchinson, & Sookraj, 2009). An of estimated approximately 18.1 – 36.1% occurrence of mental disorder for the general population (Evans et al., 2009).  The disadvantaged population especially the youths were identified to have 75% of serious cases of mental disorders that remained untreated. It was learned that AAPI has a large number of cases of mental disorders that have been a burden to them (Graddy & Chen, 2006). Moreover, I have learnt that children and the youth in this region suffered from mental illness the most but with varying severity. The local population was determined to be so prevalent with mental disorders with high rates of addictions, suicide, and mental illness among the youths.

This activity matters since it will help to create awareness to the youths on mental illness treatment and make them knowledgeable of places to seek medical help thus eventually managing to eliminate the stigma among the youth (Camino, 2000). The activity is important in providing the youths and the general population with the knowledge of adapting and coping with different life situations, choosing healthy lifestyles and managing stress. Studies have indicated a connection between better coping and reduced stress, minimal substance use and appropriate lifestyle preferences. Youths have a belief that substance use helps to reduce stress, which in real sense does not relieve stress. Therefore, this activity will help to educate youths on better stress management strategies which will minimize substance use by the youth.

This activity matters a lot in improving mental healthcare delivery to the AAPI youth since it will facilitate the mental health care providers to adapt to cultural and linguistic suitable and appropriate to the AAPI people and also involving local staff to evaluate, validate and approve it, thus enhancing cultural cohesion hence the AAPI people will get the right treatment (Cammarota & Fine, 2008). Moreover, this activity plan will enhance health literacy at a low cost by utilizing the present resources. Increase in awareness of mental illness results to a high demand of mental health services.

This paper intends is to find out the knowledge in confined in the AAPI practice and participation in the community-based activity on the creation of awareness of mental health for the youths. Youth involvement and active participation facilitate the establishment of a robust community and healthy community (Cammarota & Fine, 2008). Stigmatization against youths can be overcome by the collaboration between the youths and adults to take part in this activity with an aim of addressing community issues. Major questions address includes: what scopes constitute the paradigm of AAPI? What factors impact the practice of AAPI? In essence, the nature of inquiry by these questions is probing and vivid.

Principles, as well as values, are significant for AAPI youth. These principles and values represent a moral belief approach that those in the activity have to direct their actions. The targeted youth are anticipated to join the activity with believes that this activity is basically mental health-based program (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008). To achieve a healthy community, both youths and adults should join forces and participate in mental health awareness. All participants and stakeholders in this activity have a common goal which is to work for the benefit of the youths (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008). The partnership of adults and youth to work jointly is admissible. Aggressive youths have to take a larger responsibility of carrying out various tasks. The concept of equality between the youth and other community members have to be upheld.

As an intervention to prevalent mental illness in AAPI youths among the practices that would be carried out is beginning with training health practitioners in effective health care delivered in a one-week training program (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008). The youths and adults would be educated on based on random selection sessions to make them knowledgeable on means to seek medication and places to find treatment among other factors.  The trained health practitioners and youths would be very encouraged to practice train-the-train strategy in order to pass the information to other which in turn will help reduce the prevalence of mental health in AAPI youth.

            Nonetheless, the action plan has various omissions and drawbacks.  The action is not blended and impacts the expectancy level and also impact the changes in youths’ stigmatization (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008). The activity seems to rely on the local community’s feedback about equal mental illness prevalence on the basis of age and social class. In contrary to this bias present, groups that are similar in both demographics and in relation to psychosocial functioning (Garcia et al, 2014). Moreover, data collection duration is short and therefore the duration of improvement is not known. A lot needs to be done to fix these omissions, the action needs to be blended and expectancy level kept increasing. Only observational findings should the conclusion be drowned on rather than community’s feedback.

The action plan has various strengths which included conceptualization of different mental health knowledge.  The activity is likely achievements in making the AAPI youths gain sufficient knowledge regaining violence, mental illness, mental health literacy, stress management, suicide (Evans et al., 2009). This shows that a gap the present in with the issues raised which impacts the community’s health intervention thus increase stigma conduct. Taking into account the literature, a connection between poor mental impacts, there is room for improvement and extensive research need to be reexamined intervening for stigmatized youths.

The activity measures attitude towards mental health in various ways which entails attitude towards suicide, thoughts on mental health, interest to hear more on the mental health issue, feelings against psychiatrists, views on mental illness, significance towards violence amongst others (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008). The several measurements of the activity actually measure towards mental health. All measurements towards mental health are posttest. However, some measuring attitudes are plausible as they failed to find the substantial impact on the intervention of enhancing attitudes.

            The activity is a success since it assesses help-seeking through measuring help-seeking behavior, motives to ask for help, possibility to seek help, attitudes against psychological help, willingness to ask for help (Fine, 2006). With the current gap in mental health care field in youths. Examination looking for help in community-based care intervention together with information is significant. Extensive research is required to measure help-seeking measurement in community programs. It is illustrated that the health awareness programs in AAPI play a critical role in narrowing the mental health gap as centers for health knowledge and youth empowerment (Fine, 2006). Moreover, the trainers were trained to deliver mental health knowledge and also to train other people too. Since the training is accessible at the community level in AAPI, it is the mandate of the youths to turn up and participate, get to learn new ideas about mental health care and also get to learn some relevant life skills such as stress management.

Moreover, effective community based mental health intercessions is required in determining long-term impacts. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the maintenance of results preceding an intercession has ended (Graddy & Chen, 2006). Even if results of the outcome are mixed the imposed follow up tells a lot of signs of continued long-term study effects in community-based intervention. At the moment most community based mental health systems do not have a follow-up strategy on the participants. This is, therefore, a limitation because the results cannot be verified suppose the results are maintained later time. In future, the researcher needs to consider and target to implement interventions.

Nonetheless, there is a gap which needs improvement in research which explores the barriers and constraints to implementing community-based mental health systems. Implementation of mental health intervention in AAPI community is tough for various reasons (Camino, 2000). First, the historical nature of creating awareness for youths regarding mental illness, anticipating a mental health intervention shall pose negative effects on the youth. Nevertheless, most researchers have shown that normally positive effects of community-based mental health, yet actually, AAPI communities are not aware. Lack of education on research to the community groups is challenging (Graddy & Chen, 2006). For instance; one who has not been taught on research won’t understand the significance of control groups can make it hard to implement a study.

As a mitigation measure, the cases of control groups failing to receive the intervention, one should organize to provide the intercession to control group members when the study is ended (Evans et al., 2009). There are more causes for hardship in the implementation which includes the coordination with various stakeholders in the community, political influence, and unavailability of incentives (Garcia et al, 2014). The researcher needs to take over and play their role by discussing these and other challenges they experience when trying to implement a program in a community. By doing so, they would help a lot in easing future research in a community setting.

In conclusion, the community-based system is evident in enhancing mental health information and knowledge, minimizing stigma and improving functionality among youth in AAPI. The awareness program on mental health provides the Youths in AAPI with relevant knowledge about treatment a management of mental disorders. This study asserts that mental health awareness can be effective, affordable method of improving health literacy and adaptive functionalities. It however also illustrates the feasibility of collaboration, large-scale intercession research in various organizations in 3rd world countries.  The youth need support and guidance from both adults and from training on mental health care. The collaboration between youths and adults illustrates a community development framework. Therefore, researchers should in future train more health aspects to the youths of AAPI in order to offer community-based mental health intercession in the actual community setting.