Addressing Barriers to Learning: Culture-Specific Mental Health Issues Aitza Galarza-Hernandez Rebecca McSwain Elizabeth Uzcategui OBJECTIVES • Discuss Diversity Issues • Describe Mental Health Concerns Related to Diverse Populations • Discuss School-based Intervention Ideas Video Clip • The Danger of the Single Story What do you know about Native American Culture? • Form small groups of 4-5 participants • Choose one person to record answers • Group shares what they know of the given cultural group Native American Cultural Strengths • • • • • • Collectivistic Resiliency Orientation to Nature Resourcefulness Wisdom of Family/Tribal Elders Communication What do you know about AfricanAmerican Culture? • Form small groups of 4-5 participants • Choose one person to record answers • Group shares what they know of the given cultural group African American Cultural Strengths • • • • • Collectivistic Family-Oriented (Extended & Nuclear) Racial Pride Important Role of Elders Religious Orientation What do you know about Asian Culture? • Form small groups of 4-5 participants • Choose one person to record answers • Group shares what they know of the given cultural group Asian Culture Strengths • • • • • Collectivistic Important role of elders Resiliency Family-oriented (includes the deceased) Considered the “Model Minority” o -Double-edged sword What do you know about Hispanic culture? • Form small groups of 4-5 participants • Choose one person to record answers • Group shares what they know of the given cultural group Hispanic Culture Strengths • • • • • • • Collectivistic, Cooperative Learning Styles Bilingual/Bicultural Abilities Family-Oriented Resiliency Strong Religious Beliefs Tradition-Oriented Emphasis on Interpersonal Relationships Prevalent Mental Health Issues: • • • • Native American Culture Asian Culture African American Culture Hispanic Culture Mental Health Issues in American-Indian Cultures Alcoholism: ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Suicide: Major Depressive Disorder Victims of trauma: PTSD Homelessness: Numerous mental health issues Utilization of Mental Health Services: More likely to use inpatient services More likely to use school-based services Traditional healers provide many services Prevalent Mental Health Issues • Hispanic Culture o o o o o o Anxiety-related behavioral problems Depressive symptoms and distress Increased drug use Increased suicidal ideation Culture-bound syndromes such as “susto” (fright), “nervios” (nerves), “mal de ojo” (evil eye), and “ataque de nervios” (screaming uncontrollably, crying, trembling, verbal or physical aggression, dissociative experiences, seizure-like or fainting episodes, and suicidal gestures) Adjustment Disorders (differences betweeen home environment and the world they function in) Prevalent Mental Health Issues • African American Culture o o o o Alcohol-Drug Abuse Prone to conduct disorders Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) Depression o o o o Aggressiveness Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Less likely to seek/receive mental health services Socioeconomic status placed them at risk for mental health problems Prevalent Mental Health Issues • Asian American Culture • Least likely to seek help for mental health disorders due to values self-reliance, reservation, and fear of shaming the family. • Difficulty accessing mental health treatment due to language issues. • Increased risk for depression • Social anxiety/fears • High rates of suicide Prevalent Mental Health Issues • Asian American Culture • Culture-bound Syndromes (anxieties experienced as physical symptoms) • Shenjing Shuairuo: stress related and experienced as pain, numbness, fatigue, and fainting. • Hwa-Byung “fire illness, supressed anger”: Korean folk illness experienced as heavy feeling in chest, sleeplessness, flushing, palpitations, and blurred vision. What are your experiences? Clips from The Office School Interventions • Although teachers are not mental health services providers, they do play a vital role in supporting students’ mental wellness and helping to identify and support students who may have a mental health problem. Specific recommendations are: School Interventions • Learn as much as possible about the cultural and linguistic background of the students you teach. • Acknowledge that within culture differences are as important as differences between cultures. • Allow students to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through the use of cooperative groups, dialogue journals and other forms of interactive learning. • Enhance students’ self-image, motivation and cultural prode by using culturally-relevant materials. • Invite parents and families to actively participate in their children’s education. School Interventions (cont.) • Beware that families from diverse linguistic or cultural backgrounds may not initiate requests for help or use in-school resources available to address mental health issues. Small sessions to provide orientation in regards the available resources will be necessary. • Seek help from the resources in your building (i.e, school counselor, social worker, mental health worker, or school psychologist). • Small group activities on self-efficacy and study skills. • Partnering with”like-minded peers”. Strategies to Enhance Home-School Collaboration • Regular and positive communication with parents and/or guardians. • Emphasize strengths. • Empower the parent (e.g., seating arragement free of barriers, ask open-ended questions during conferences, and ask for parents impressions of the situation at hand. Questions, Comments, Concerns Resources American Psychiatric Association. (2010). Asian American/Pacific Islanders. (http://www.healthyminds.org/More-Info-For/AsianAmericanPacific-Islanders.asp) Mental Health: Culture, Race, Ethnicity Fact Sheets-Asian Americans. Department of Human Services. (http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cre/fact2.asp). Villalba, Jose A. (2008). School Mental Health Project: Addressing Cultural Diversity in School Mental Health. SEHAC, Wilmington, North Carolina. Williams, Barbara Bole (2006). Culturally Competent Mental Health Services in the Schools: Tips for Teachers. (http://www/nasponline.org/culturalcompetence/index.html.