Chinese people and mental health services in Christchurch : provider perspectives
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
The Chinese population in New Zealand has grown rapidly in recent years, and it has become an important component in New Zealand society. In reality, these Chinese people are likely to be under stress in their new lives, and therefore, at high risk of mental health problems. Moreover, evidence shows that Chinese people are the under-users of mental health services, and that mental health issues among the Chinese population tend to be under-recognised, under-reported and untreated. Therefore, the method of descriptive qualitative study was chosen and semi-structured interviews were carried out to describe how health providers perceive and support mental health needs of Chinese patients in Christchurch. Purposive sampling was used to identify potential participants, namely the health providers, who have experience of working with Chinese people‘s mental health issues. They were recruited from a wide range of health services, including general practice, psychiatry, social work, counselling, project leadership, health promotion, different management roles, nutrition, nursing, and Chinese medicine. Data analysis was assisted by the computer software Nvivo 8, with thematic analysis used to identify themes and sub-themes which emerged from the information of the interviews. From the health providers‘ point of view, migration-related stressors and physical problems all pose risks to Chinese people‘s mental health. Although Chinese clients with mental health problems are not commonly seen in the clinical settings, they do potentially have mental health problems and suffer from these issues, but rarely seek mental health support from mainstream services. The health providers pointed out that although good mental health services and information are offered to local people, the existing health care model and health system do not meet Chinese people‘s mental health needs, due to barriers of language and culture. Under these circumstances, the providers indicated that establishing cultural and linguistic mental health services, and offering education to Chinese people and health providers might be helpful in overcoming cultural barriers, improving low access issues and meeting Chinese people‘s mental health needs. This study also identified a range of mental health problems and some groups among the Chinese population with a high risk of mental health issues, both of which need further investigation.