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Asian men recruited for mental health study

By Stefania Seccia

More Asian men are needed for a national study. (REUTERS)

More Asian men are needed for a national study. (REUTERS)

Researchers are trying to figure out how to remove the barriers of stigma around mental health issues for men in the broader Asian community, but need more recruits to do it.

The Strength-into-Unity project completed its first wave of recruitment in January with 40 men, but want 700 men. The national project is also being done in Calgary and Toronto, with funding from the Movember Foundation.

The workshops are broken down into two: acceptance commitment training and contact-based empowerment education. The first is designed to help people deal with health stigma, and the other looks into how someone can combat stigma in their day-to-day life, according to Dr. Marina Morrow, the Vancouver lead on the project and a Simon Fraser University associate professor.

“We know that stigma crosses all cultures and backgrounds, and it affects some more than others,” she said. “There’s a real gap, nationally.”

The Mental Health Commission recently wrapped a major project on stigmas, but it didn’t focus on immigrant men, and yet the immigrant population is the fastest-growing group in Canada, according to Morrow.

“Yet there are no real programs and there are very little resources looking at those communities,” she said.

“We know men in general don’t seek help very often and when they do their needs are seldom met.”

Morrow said the study has the support of several community groups, such as SUCCESS, Mosaic, Immigrant Services Society of B.C., and Genesis Family Empowerment, among others.

“In the Asian community, generally speaking, there’s a lot of shame around exposing a lot of mental health problems,” she said. “It’s the same in other communities as well, but it plays out differently in other Asian communities.”

The workshop pays $55 for each session attended and requires men, aged 17 and older, of South Asian, East Asian or Southeast Asian descent who want to learn more about their mental health or are living with or are supporting someone with a mental illness.

For more information, visit strength-in-unity.ca.

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