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Community Ment Health J. 2012 Feb;48(1):98-106. doi: 10.1007/s10597-011-9419-4. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Stressors and barriers to using mental health services among diverse groups of first-generation immigrants to the United States.

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  • 1Center for Survivors of Torture, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, San Jose, CA 95128, USA. Fay.Saechao@aaci.org


This study examined stressors and barriers to using mental health services among first-generation immigrants in San Jose, California. Focus groups for 30 immigrants from Cambodia, Eastern Europe, Iran, Iraq, Africa, and Vietnam were audio-recorded, translated and transcribed. Two researchers coded the data and identified themes pertaining to mental health stressors and barriers. Six primary stressors were identified: economic, discrimination, acculturation due to language differences, enculturation, parenting differences, and finding suitable employment. Primary barriers included: stigma, lack of a perceived norm in country of origin for using mental health services, competing cultural practices, lack of information, language barriers, and cost. A conceptual model is presented that may be used to inform the design and implementation of mental health services for this population.

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