“I believe that mental health is important. You don’t realize sometimes how frustrated you are, or how your mind is working, or if you are having issues with that until you talk about it,” Junior Andres Roja said. “You just assume that it is normal. I believe we need to discuss it more especially in my culture.”
Mental health is an important topic that needs to be discussed in the U.S; especially regarding different cultures that come to the states and haven’t easily adapted to the culture.
Andres Roja said that mental health is not discussed in his home country of Costa Rica. Roja said in his immediate family, there aren’t discussions about what mental health is. It is seen as more taboo. Roja believes that having positive friends and finding a place for spiritual support can help in times of need.
Tiffany Byers, director of multicultural student services, said mental health is giving the body what it needs, such as nutritious food and exercise. Byers said everyone deals with a lot of different things while in school, but some may not need as much as help as the next person.
“It’s so important that we feed into ourselves things that are going to produce better things for us mentally,” Byers said. “Such as who you choose to keep company with, the nutritious foods you eat and who you keep around in your life.”
Dr. Usenime Akpanudo, associate professor of education, and graduate student Lillian Chen conducted a research study titled “Chinese International Students Toward Seeking Mental Health Services in the United States.” The purpose of the study was to acknowledge how Chinese students feel about seeking help from mental health professionals in order to see how professionals can better serve the Chinese students. Akpanudo and Chen surveyed 110 Chinese students at Harding. Results from the survey revealed that 68 percent of Chinese students were familiar with the idea of counseling, and that the longer stay in the U.S., the more positive outcome for a student was seeking mental health services.
“In addition to cultural factors, lack of awareness may also influence the attitude and willingness of Chinese international students to seek mental health counseling,” according to their research. With more research, Akpanudo and Chen are hoping to spread more awareness about mental health to students.