Report on East Asian youth mental health needs assessment

Research Report Round-up

In brief

The "Report on East Asian Youth Mental Health Needs Assessment" presents the results of a study looking at the mental health concerns of youth aged 16 to 24 years from Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese backgrounds. The study included in-depth interviews with youth and social service workers in the targeted ethnic communities, focus groups, and surveys about youth mental health in these communities.

Participants were asked to report on their relationships with their parents, substance use, emotional well-being, understanding of mental health and illness, as well as their recommendations on effective community resources and services for their age group.

In our latest Research Report Round-up, we provide a summary of this report.  Research Report Round-ups are brief summaries of research reports, presented in a user-friendly format.

Title and link to report: Report on East Asian Youth Mental Health Needs Assessment

Author: Hong Fook Mental Health Association 

Year: 2015

Location: Toronto

Type of study: Mixed methods study including interviews, focus groups, and surveys.

Keywords: Mental health, substance use, youth, newcomers, cultural competence

Contact person/source: Helen Poon, Holistic Health Manager, Hong Fook Mental Health Association, hpoon [at] hongfook [dot] ca, 416-493-4242 x 2261.

Language: English 

What this  report is about

This report presents the results of a study looking at the mental health concerns of youth aged 16 to 24 years from Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese backgrounds. The study included in-depth interviews with youth and social service workers in the targeted ethnic communities, focus groups, and surveys about youth mental health in these communities.

Participants were asked to report on their relationships with their parents, substance use, emotional well-being, understanding of mental health and illness, as well as their recommendations on effective community resources and services for their age group. 

After analyzing the data, the researchers identified seven key areas that are negatively impacting mental well-being in this group: 

  • Substance use;
  • Social exclusion from peers and teachers;
  • Poor communication with parents;
  • Lack of coping skills;
  • Challenges with identity and diversity issues related to immigration experiences; 
  • Stress about academic performance;
  • Mental health stigma. 

Research participants made the following recommendations:

  • More culturally competent information about mental health issues, treatments, or available services should be available to youth and their families
  • Mental health services should focus on the following: 
    • trust-building between service providers and youth; 
    • interventions that the youth can relate to their daily circumstances and expectations;  
  • Services should be different when targeted to youth who are international students and those who have arrived in Canada with their parents or other relatives.

How can this report be used

This report highlights the mental health concerns of immigrant and newcomer youth of Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese background. The findings have implications for service providers who conduct programming with these cultural groups.