Raman Kular, PhD Presenting Cultural Research at APA Conference in Hawaii

Mental health disorders are still highly stigmatized in several cultural groups due to several factors, including (but not limited to) lack of knowledge, cultural influences, and limited mental health services in certain communities. There is evidence that mental illness in these communities may be undiagnosed and untreated. The Program Manager of the South Asian Community Health Promotion Services program, Dr. Raman Kular, led a panel to systematically review the literature of three different groups of culture (Southeast Asian Americans, South Asian Americans, and Thais in Thailand) and have reported the findings in three main categories: Prevalence of mental disorders, Stigmatization associated with mental disorders, and Mental health service utilization. This information will increase an understanding of mental health and mental disorders within each cultural context and relevant strengths and challenges in each cultural group. The findings will be used to further design culturally appropriate prevention and intervention programs to better educate the communities and to ensure that individuals with mental disorders in these communities receive timely and culturally responsive treatment.

Dr. Kular focused on the South Asian portion of the research study. She stated that South Asians comprise 16.38% of the Asian American population and 0.58% of the US population. Some studies focusing on the South Asian population have come across that mental health has become a concern after immigration. The stress-inducing factors identified by participants included loss of social support, economic uncertainties, downward social mobility, mechanistic lifestyle, barriers in accessing health services, and climatic and food changes. Parents and teachers noticed changes in the immigrant students such as attention seeking behavior, lack of concentration, lack of motivation, dysphoric mood, diminished interest in social activities; sleep disturbances, feelings of apprehension, and episodes of crying. Overall, within this group services were under utilized due to stigmatization. In addition, for those who expressed interest in receiving services, they communicated lack of adequate support and resources available in their primary language.

These findings fuel Dr. Kular’s passion for her work at The Hume Center. As South Asian Community Health Promotion Services Program Manager, Dr. Kular has worked to strengthen this community by bringing Prevention and Early Intervention services into the community and by offering the services in English, Cantonese, Dari, Farsi, Hindi, Mandarin, Punjabi, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu, and Vietnamese. To explore what is available in her program, please click here.

By: Raman Kular, PhD
South Asian Community Health Promotion Services Program Manager
June, 2013



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