The stigmatization of mental health in Asian culture.

Mental health is a considerably sensitive topic. Despite raising the awareness of mental health issues, many remain in the dark alone. This is especially troubling in Asian culture, where sometimes even a slight mention about mental health is taboo. The typical reaction to hearing about a student taking away their life will always be a negative one. However, the correlation to mental health in such cases is still being stigmatized in many Asian countries, including Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan.

Schools and universities in Asia have been taking action and finding solutions to fix the stigmatization of mental health issues, such as creating groups on campus, taking advantage of social media, and much more. Hence, many students are gaining more access to the knowledge of mental health and, though this is definitely a promising start, other societal views on this topic are still being frowned upon and neglected.

“The generation gap is evident because the history of many Asian countries centre around the ‘suffer before you enjoy’ concept.”

Compared to Western culture, it is usually not encouraged by parents that children raised in traditional Asian households should express their feelings or stress. The generation gap is evident because the history of many Asian countries centre around the ‘suffer before you enjoy’ concept. This is not to say that Asian parents do not care about their children, as they only want the best for their children’s future; however, it does show that cultural differences indeed play a big role in the accessibility of resources available for students suffering from mental health issues.

The competitive environment in many Asian education systems is a big cause of mental health issues. Most commonly talked about, yet still in the shadows, is depression. With the “your results are equivalent to your status” mindset in these education systems, many students find it hard to keep up with the expectations of their parents because “being number 1” is something that makes them proud. The focus on education becomes the foundation of the relationship between the parents and children.

With the increasing amount of resources and even the help of social media nowadays, mental health issues are being talked about more often and shouldn’t be shunned. Having a platform to talk about these issues not only helps many students realize they are not alone, but the exposure of technology to adults creates a pathway to understanding such issues as well!