The causes of mental health issues among Chinese older people in the UK vary. Some perceived causes by themselves and other Chinese people include family problems, financial difficulties, loneliness and isolation, poor physical health, life events such as bereavement (Li et al. 1999, Tran et al. 2008, Wah Kin Project 2011). It was indicated in literature that mental problems happened more often in older generation among Chinese immigrants (Cowan 2001). But the prevalence of Chinese elders who has mental health needs in the UK is not clear when I was searching the literature. Their understandings of mental health issues and experience of mental health services have been addressed by many studies, which I will now summarise.
缺乏关于心理健康问题的知识-Lack of Knowledge about Mental Health Issues
General understanding of mental health issues of Chinese people has largely been affected by traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is suggested that the physical health and mental health should be in harmony, which is regarded as holistic approach (Chau 2008). There is no separate concept of mental health from physical health in Chinese medicine (Wong and Richman 2004). This reflection on many studies about the understanding of mental health issues among Chinese elders in the UK. The Wah Kin (Chinese health) project focuses on Chinese people aged 50+ in North Glasgow. In their project report, 'Voices of Chinese Elders', when asked about their understandings of mental health issues, some Chinese elders suggested it was because those people 'think too much' (Wah Kin Project 2011). Some respondents also them suggested that people with mental health issues will 'end up their own lives by committing suicide' (Wah Kin Project 2011). Similar responses were also gathered in two studies by Tran (2006) in Shropshire County and Tran et al (2008) in Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Brent. When asked about mental health, most of the interviewees in the second study started to talk about their physical health firstly, where further explanation and prompting were needed (Tran et al. 2008). Moreover, nearly all of the interviewees in both studies indicated that good mental health can be achieved by simply controlling emotions and not thinking too much (Tran 2006, Tran et al. 2008). In a study of Li and Logan (1999) in England, there were a number of Chinese people who did not know what the diagnosis was when they were given a mental health related diagnosis.