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Vietnamese families in the USA

Mental health is a condition that is currently well conversant in many people's discussions and ideologies. The public and the media have taken both sides on the mental illness issue to create awareness and enhance appropriate solutions and recognitions. The case study of the Vietnamese American families is full of diversification to a successful approach to the condition. In typical scenarios, people with mental illness conditions are taken care of by their families or professional caregivers (Shah, Wadoo, & Latoo, 2010). On the contrary, as it is expected that the caregivers offer solutions to the mental illness patients' answers, the caregivers are at the risk of suffering from the same. It includes poor health and mental illness challenges (Shah, Wadoo, & Latoo, 2010). The caregiver's experiences diversify the notion that has been put in place to have mental illness given attention entirely. The Vietnamese case took three precise dimensions to foster the study of the challenges faced by the family caregivers to people who have a mental illness. First, the impact of socio-cultural and religious values on caring and mental illness must be considered. The effect of caregiving on the caregiver's well-being is the second factor to consider. Finally, the stigma associated with mental illness will be discussed and considered (Shah, Wadoo, & Latoo, 2010).

According to a National Alliance on Mental Illness survey, Vietnamese-American caregivers of people with mental illness face a slew of current and ongoing challenges. On the topic of the Vietnamese American's caregiving experience. The unique cases are that many mental illness patients may have adverse effects resulting in temporary and or permanent disabilities that make them directly depend on the family for care and medication (Miller, 2015). It is denoted that the inception of mental illness in a person s life directly translates to the loss of business and employment. The economic capability of the person drastically changes to negative. The family caregivers get in hand to cater to the caregiving tasks' costs. The family caregivers will have to live with the patient leading to the high-level burden of caregiving (Miller, 2015). Due to the loss of employment, the family caregiver suffers emotionally and stresses related to the finances. Emotional instability, stress, and depression may result in mental illness to the family caregivers. The core reason lies in the caregiver having to take care of the family member all the time with the expectation of recovery. The emotional and psychological torture results in the caregivers ignoring themselves to focus on the patient, only to turn to be patients with the same condition.


The majority of the Vietnamese came as refugees in America. They have depicted themselves as people with cultural values that focus on familism. It has made it a norm to practice co-residency as the need for full-time family interactions. To them, a family caregiver is specifically one who resides in the same home with a person with serious mental illness, providing both physical and emotional attention (Miller, 2015). As refugees, they have rapidly increased, becoming the sixth largest population of immigrants in the United States of America. Cultural and religious norms indicate that caring for a family member with significant mental illness is solely the family's responsibility (Miller, 2015). It is a family obligation that is highly regarded. The familism value discourages institutional means to handle and care for ill family members. The role of the caregiver as per the familism and Confucianism as religious beliefs narrows all responsibility to the family members (Miller, 2015). It is an obligation that cannot be eliminated from the family. It echoes the family collective responsibility, loyalty, and strengthening the family ties.

The Vietnamese American caregivers coped with the suffering by seeking religious solace. Religions motivate caregiving and the potential risk attached to their emotional and phycological distress (Miltiades& Pruchno, 2002). To them, the burden lies with the family. The traditional concept on institutional frameworks that handle mental illness deters them from seeking help. They are still viewed as prisoners and have low chances of rehabilitating a member. The refugees have access to both the Buddhists and catholic beliefs, but the bottom line is if doing something right as needed to avoid experiencing karma. Both Buddhism and Catholicism emphasize the need for coping. Despite mental illness, caregiving is a challenge the religion demands for managing (Miltiades& Pruchno, 2002).

Mental illness is considered a shame to the family, relatives, and ancestors; hence stigmatization is shared among the Vietnamese American population. It's linked to humiliation, exclusion, and a loss of face in the community. (Boykin & Thompson 2007). The behaviors of a person who has mental illness in the Vietnamese American population are seen as shameful. The patient is kept out of the public until the case is unbearable. They do this to avoid being judged and discriminated against. The reason behind the hiding is to avoid stigmatization and shame. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Santa Clara County (NAMI SCC), Vietnamese Americans' diverse reasons fail to seek institutional help are the values of family obligation, karma, and Christianity. They oblige to the need of practicing self-sacrifice to cater to a family member.

Similarly, there are no chances or recovers as, according to Buddhism, the member undergoing mental illness may be experiencing karma. The member could have done something wrong in the past and is now serving his punishment. On the same note, the belief in Christianity has made them conceptualize the act of prayer to solve their problems (Miltiades& Pruchno, 2002). They would rather hide the patient ad seek help through prayer than seek medical attention.

The family caregiving role is having challenges to the caregivers on their well-being and its impact on their social and family life. On the well-being of the caregivers, through the research conducted by National Alliance on Mental Illness Santa Clara County (NAMI SCC), The individual is experiencing strong emotions and frustration. Despite the frustrations, the person has to undertake the role as a family obligation (Miltiades& Pruchno, 2002). However, some of them take all the experiences on the positive side by denoting that they have learned the need to control their temper and also the need of being patient when handling anything that tends to give them frustrations.

Conclusively, the Vietnamese population has proven through the research that the role of the mental illness patient belongs to the family. However, the concept is rooted together with other explanations and underlying factors ranging from the idea of embracing family obligation, religion, and the fear of stigmatization (Boykin & Thompson 2007). The family caregivers have expressed the challenges from the role, resulting in frustrations and financial difficulties (Boykin & Thompson 2007). As a result of the emotional and psychological obstacles connected with the caregiving position, caregivers develop mental illness. The problems have arisen due to the fear of being judged and discriminated against (Boykin & Thompson 2007). They have accepted togetherness as refugees in the United States of America by sticking to the value of familism. They consider the difficulties that one of them has faced to be challenges for all of them (Boykin & Thompson 2007). By creating togetherness in all situations, they have separated requesting help from others.

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Miltiades, H. B., & Pruchno, R, (2002). The effect of religious coping on caregiving Appraisals of mothers of adults with developmental disabilities. The Gerontologist, 42(1), 82-91

Shah, A. J., Wadoo, O., & Latoo, J. (2010). Psychological Distress In Cares of people with mental disorders. British journal of medical practitioners, 3(3), 327-340.

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