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Caregiving Experience Among Asian American Families of Individuals with Serious Mental Illnesses

July 26, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am HST

Family caregivers of Individuals living with a serious mental illness (SMI) play a critical role in the lives of people with SMIs because family members are known to be the first persons to recognize the onset, symptoms, or re-emergence of mental illness; therefore, family members can be considered key initiators and facilitators of treatment and recovery. While there are positive aspects of caregiving, the trajectory and dynamic features of caregiving over time often also negatively impact the caregivers’ mental health. Consequently, these caregivers report substantially higher caregiving distress than caregivers of non-psychiatric patients. Caregiving challenges are compounded among Asian Americans due to additional factors such as cultural values (e.g., stigma regarding SMI), and/or structural barriers related to acculturation (i.e., unfamiliarity with systems, language barriers). Asian Americans with SMIs, in contrast to other ethnic groups, are more likely to reside with family and less likely to utilize mental health services, oftentimes leading to substantial daily life challenges for caregivers. However, there is very little information available on Asian American caregivers of people with a SMI. As a result, insights about how to develop a mental health intervention and prevention program targeted toward FCs within an Asian cultural context are significantly lacking.

The workshop will focus on Chinese American and Vietnamese American family caregivers. The goal is to explore how cultural factors influence the experiences of Asian American family caregivers who take care of individuals with SMI. Additionally, the workshop will explore the factors that contribute to their well-being. It is essential to recognize that these caregivers are also at risk of developing mental health issues themselves. By gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by Asian American family caregivers and the factors that promote well-being, behavioral health professionals can better support them in their roles. The behavioral health agencies and practitioners can then create intervention programs that promote self-care practices among caregivers. This workshop will focus on Chinese American and Vietnamese American family caregivers.


What will you learn in this workshop?
• Caregiving experiences of Asian American family caregivers of people with serious mental illnesses within the Asian American cultural contexts.
• Understanding the risk factors that may pose a risk to the well-being of family caregivers.
• Exploring ways of promoting the well-being of family caregivers.
• Understanding the similarities and differences in the caregiving experiences of Chinese and Vietnamese Americans.


Who is this workshop for?
• Behavioral health care providers who work with Asian American communities.
• Members of Asian American community-based organizations.
• Asian American family caregivers of people with mental illnesses and those who support them.

This event has passed. You can watch the replay on our YouTube, or here on the website.

Workshop Presenters

Dr. Meekyung Han is a professor and co-chair of the Child Welfare Partnership for Training and Research at the School of Social Work at San José State University (SJSU). Originally from South Korea, Dr. Han pursued her master’s in social work (MSW) as an international graduate student pursuing her MSW at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. After completing her master’s degree, she worked as a social worker in St. Louis before relocating to California to pursue a doctoral program in social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. Following the completion of her Ph.D., she joined the faculty at SJSU.

Dr. Han’s research focuses primarily on mental health issues, family violence, and the impact of trauma, with a special emphasis on Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). In recent years, she has worked to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health disorders and provide support for caregivers of those with mental illnesses. Her scholarship has had a profound impact on addressing inequities and disparities within the mental health system. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her extensive scholarly work and contributions to understanding mental health issues.

Her academic pursuits are deeply rooted in the Transcultural Perspective (TCP) framework which prioritizes diversity, human well-being, and social justice. She incorporates a TCP perspective into every step of her scholarly work. Dr. Han is also a dedicated educator who integrates her scholarship and the TCP framework into her teaching to enhance students’ learning experiences. In recent years, she has received multiple honors and awards, including the Senior Excellence Scholarly Award for her excellent scholarship and an award from the National Association of Social Workers South Bay Chapter for her exceptional teaching.

As demonstrated by her extensive research, Dr. Han recognizes a pressing need within the AAPI community: a dearth of mental health resources and culturally and linguistically competent services. This realization fuels her deep sense of privilege and honor in joining the ‘Ohana CoE. As a part of the ‘Ohana CoE, Dr. Han is dedicated to expanding her contributions to the behavioral health field to advance the interests and well-being of AANHPI.


July 26, 2023
9:00 am - 10:00 am HST
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