Lauren Sorient’s grandfather said he expected her to pay for his younger sister’s college tuition. When he was growing up in the Philippines, his eldest brother paid for his younger siblings’ tuition, he said.
Soriente’s mother, meanwhile, is unclear about what financial support her parents expect from her – and doesn’t want to talk about it seriously. Years ago, a 27-year-old girl felt pressured by her family to pursue an account. It’s an area that provides financial stability, but it’s not a passionate thing for the people of Northern Virginia.
“I think looking back now, I realized, did they do this to me so that I could be their retirement fund?” She said.
The prospect of providing for her family financially adds to the existing stress of dealing with student debt, wage stability, and inflation.
Soriente’s experience is common among Filipino Americans, who place a high value on caring for their families. The debt that Soriente felt and the expectations of his family were rooted in cultural values Debt, Which translates to “debt of gratitude”. It refers to reciprocity and what is good for the collective. In a listening session with 16 Filipino Americans from across the United States, most participants shared similar experiences about the pressure to put family first as a common source of stress.
Christine Catipon, a senior staff psychologist at UC Irvine Counseling Center, sees the impact. Debt To almost all of his Filipino students. They often feel pressured not only to repay their parents but also to support them for the rest of their lives. For Soriente, he attributes the debt he felt for his family to a strong sense of duty and a close relationship with family members. Also in the expectations they have placed on him, in part because they have met his basic needs.
What Filipino Americans know about the intricacies of mental health is limited by the lack of dedicated resources and researchers to study it. A 1995 study found that 27% of Filipino-American respondents had a major depressive episode or clinical depression of varying severity. Three times the average American population. Next The study, published in 2017, Filipino-American youth were found to be at higher risk of adolescent and adolescent depression symptoms than their Chinese-American counterparts.
A pediatrician and researcher at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at USC’s Cake School of Medicine. Joyce Xavier has researched suicidal thoughts among teenagers in the Philippines. She said that there was a group High rate of suicidal ideation compared to other races.
Despite the fact that much is unknown, Catipon said the best place to start is to understand the role of cultural values in terms of mental health.
Kevin Nadal, a professor of psychology at New York City University and author of “Filipino American Psychology,” cites four key cultural values that affect the mental health of Filipino Americans. In addition DebtThere are:
- BothThe feeling of connection with each other.
- Fellowship, The idea of social harmony needs to be accepted and there needs to be peace and harmony among others.
- HiyaShame, which is governed by the notion that one’s goal is to represent oneself or one’s family in the most dignified way possible, writes Nadal in “Filipino American Psychology.”
“It’s very important to acknowledge that these values are generally good and positive values, and those reasons are why we have a strong sense of community, why Filipinos are generally collective,” Nadal said. “They put others ahead of themselves, being kind, hardworking and all these things.
“And at the same time, these values may contribute to the subtle reasons why some Filipino Americans may have difficulty navigating mental health problems.”
Catipon said these values, which are familiar to Filipinos, may not be as obvious as Filipino Americans who grew up in the United States, but they are often internal.
Both That could prevent anyone from seeking therapy, Nadal said, especially if it involves going to a hospital or a family member’s work area. It has to do with a price Hiya. There is still a stigma attached to admitting you have mental health problems, and this can prevent people from seeking treatment for fear of embarrassing family, community and themselves.
“It’s a shame that people can feel things like depression,” Nadal said. “So if you feel ashamed of not graduating from college, or if you feel ashamed that you didn’t get married before you had your child or you are unmarried and you’re 40, there could be a lot of mental health problems that are involved. .
“But maybe people aren’t connected to those things or talking about those things because they just don’t want to admit it – because it’s hard and painful to talk about shame.”
If the family situation benefits the group but causes personal pain or suffering, the person may choose not to say anything because it can be viewed negatively by the whole group, Nadal said. It has to do with the value of social harmony, or Fellowship.
He said that action should be taken against the speaker and inquiries should be made as to why the problem has arisen.
“That’s why some Filipinos can create a lot of problems internally – because they don’t want to bring problems to others and their families or their communities,” Nadal said.
Value of Debt, Feeling indebted to others can also contribute to suicidal ideation, Catipon said.
“There’s an underlying feeling, ‘I did it for you, you owe me,'” she said. “And if that’s your purpose, if you can’t get them back, what’s the value of your life?”
Xavier said it was difficult to find specific reasons for the high rate of suicidal thoughts among Filipino Americans, but she cited three risk factors associated with it: depression, educational stress and family conflict.
“It’s really important, because family conflict can be a risk factor. But on the flip side, family closeness is a protective factor,” she said. “So there are many things we can do to help address suicide.”
Suicide prevention and crisis counseling resources
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, seek the help of a professional and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Text “HOME” to 741741 in the US and Canada to access the Crisis text line.
Michelle Binoy, 33, of Palmdale, was 15 when she first discovered she was depressed. She also deals with suicidal thoughts every day. He often puts his family’s needs ahead of his own, including caring for his father, who has schizophrenia. This came at a huge cost to her and her family: her mother was unable to finish school and did not learn how to drive. Binoy, meanwhile, has repeatedly delayed her graduation from college, and she does not see marriage or childbirth as a priority for her father.
“I have always known that my family is part of my mental health problem,” she said. “And I don’t know how to love my family and maintain my health. And that’s the hard truth.”
She said her therapist told her to get out of the house she shared with her parents. Yet, despite all the challenges that come with being a parent with violent episodes, she is determined to make her life work.
“At the end of the day, value that core [of family] Is very important to me I don’t know how it got stuck with me, but it happened. And I’m happy. I have a part that I am very happy and proud to have accomplished. ”
Catipon said many of her Filipino-American clients pass on their mental health concerns to their parents because being “crazy” can make their parents feel they have done too much to raise them.
Many participants in the focus group said that they were taught to keep their emotions to themselves and not to show others when they were struggling. Some rejected their feelings as they grew older or did not talk about their feelings at all.
This could prevent people from talking about suicidal thoughts, Nadal said. Suicide is so taboo that people don’t even label it that way, he said.
“Suicides among Filipino families – especially in the Philippines – are covered up or hidden because of stigma,” he said. “In fact, the Philippines generally reports fewer incidents than other Western countries, possibly due to less stigma.”
Another part of the stigma of suicide stems from the misconception that Catholicism – which teaches believers not to despair of the eternal salvation of those who take their lives – considers suicide by death to be a sin that prevents one from entering heaven without exception. It can also contribute to the fear of discussion among people.
In an effort to reduce suicidal ideation, Xavier partnered with community organizations, schools, churches, community members and local authorities. 11 years ago To create Filipino Family Health Initiative, A culturally responsive solution to address Filipino-American mental health. It does this by teaching parents how to build strong parent-child relationships and instilling positive cultural values in their children, among other things. The organization conducts workshops on effective communication, special time with children, and social and emotional training.
She also said that research shows that a child’s or adolescent’s pride in their culture and ethnicity is associated with more positive mental health outcomes.
“So if anyone can link being a Filipino as a positive thing, that’s very protective of their mental health,” she said.
Catipon said the younger generation of Filipino Americans seems more interested in seeking therapy than a decade ago. It allows them to learn healthy ways to communicate and express their feelings, which reduces some of the embarrassment around them.
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“If they can’t express it to their family, they can’t at least take responsibility for the ways other people choose to respond to them,” she said. “My customers are all about, ‘I want to learn how to take responsibility for my stuff and not my stuff. [My family’s] They’re doing their best, but I’m learning how to do it better. ‘
Soriente says she has experienced both negative and positive aspects of her cultural values in her mental health. She feels that she cannot meet her family’s expectations, but she is working hard to accept them.
At the same time, she admits that it is Debt Who is connected to his family. She likes to talk to her family about Filipino culture and food. She has also started learning Tagalog. She talks to her grandfather about her class, and her mother helps her with her homework.
“I was raised by my grandparents, and I always thought I could always return to their home,” she said. “Like, in any case, my room will always be in their house. I will always be able to go there for food.