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Mental Health of Vietnamese American Seniors Studied

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Yuying Tsong, assistant professor of human services, is embarking on a pilot study this spring focusing on the mental health of Vietnamese American seniors in Orange County.

Tsong received two grants, totaling $30,000, from UCLA/Charles Drew University (CDU) Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research/Center for Health Improvement of Minority Elderly (RCMAR/CHIME) and UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

Her project will assess Vietnamese American seniors’ understanding of mental health challenges, as well as how their cultural background may affect their willingness to seek professional help. Past studies have shown that Vietnamese American older adults often suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, Tsong said. Additionally, their limited English proficiency could prevent them from seeking help from mental health professionals.

The project will provide opportunities for Tsong and her students to learn more about issues important to ethnic minority older adults from a multidisciplinary perspective. Tsong and her research assistant Vi Pham, a counseling graduate student, will present preliminary findings at the American Psychological Association annual conference in August.

“To effectively reduce mental health disparities in the Asian American communities, we must understand the specific cultural factors that contribute to these disparities to provide culturally appropriate and effective prevention and intervention programs,” Tsong said.

For more about Tsong, continue reading here.