CANADA: How Recruiting Men as Ambassadors Can Combat Stigma about Mental Health in Asian Community

February 02, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

CBC News

A research study in Canada has recruited more than 500 men of Asian descent to help reduce the negative bias associated with mental illness in their community. The Strength in Unity project trains research participants to act as community ambassadors by educating them about mental health and providing them with tools to educate others. Training consists of acceptance and commitment, which involves addressing prejudice and expressing compassion, and contact-based empowerment, which teaches health promotion skills. According to Josephine Wong, co-principal investigator and associate professor at the Ryerson University School of Nursing, mental illness in the Asian community tends to be characterized by secrecy and shame. “[T]hat puts a lot of stress not only on the people living with the mental illness, but also on the entire communities,” she said. Wong and other researchers hope to encourage men to talk about mental health-related challenges and take a more active role in addressing them so that individuals and families who are struggling will not have to suffer in silence.

Spark Extra! Learn more about Strength in Unity.